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‘Don’t want to politicise armed forces’, says Nirmala Sitharaman


Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said neither Prime Minister Narendra Modi nor any other leader of the National Democratic Alliance wanted to politicise armed forces and there was nothing wrong in talking about the political will giving freedom to the forces to take action as they deem fit.

At an informal interactive session here, she said the opposition had been constantly coming up with the allegation that armed forces were being politicised.

“Nobody wants to politicise the armed forces, not particularly myself or Prime Minister or anybody from here (government). We don’t want to politicise the armed forces,” she said.

Sitharaman sought to know whether it was wrong to compare how “weak” the government of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in 2008 post the 26/11 Mumbai attacks and how “strong” the Modi government was now in 2019 after the February 14 terror attack in Pulwama.

“The political will, based on sound intelligence information, gave freedom to the armed forces to take necessary action as they deemed fit. Is it wrong to say it? That is not politicisation of the armed forces,” the defence minister asserted.

The opposition has been objecting to PM Modi and other BJP leaders referring to the IAF’s strikes on a Balakot terror camp during election rallies. The Congress on Friday moved the Election Commission against Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for allegedly “dragging” the armed forces in the political domain by using them to seek votes.