New Delhi: Lashing out at the Congress for questioning the Balakot air strike on February 26, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that as per the NTRO input there were 300 cell phones active in the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) camp when the strike was made and if the opposition party is still curious to know more about the attack, it should send its leaders to Pakistan for the headcount.
“If friends from the Congress party think that they should be told about the number of terrorists killed in the strike, then I want to tell them that if you want to go to Pakistan, go and count them; ask the people there how many of them were killed by the Indian Air Force,” the Home Minister said addressing a rally in Assam’s Dhubri.
Pointing out that the issue should not be used for political advantage, Rajnath Singh asserted: “If at all politics is to be played it should be purely for nation building and not for gaining power.”
“Entire nation respects their (security personnel) martyrdom but these people (Congress) are raising questions,” he added.
"Number of terrorists killed may be known by 'today or tomorrow'," the Home Minister said.
Pointing out that the country's premier surveillance agency NTRO has confirmed that there were 300 cell phones active in the camp when the air strike occurred, the Home Minister said, “Why are you asking us how many of them were killed? NTRO has said that when the air strike took place, there were 300 mobile phones active in that camp,” he said.
“Now imagine, how many were killed? We don’t need to say anything. I want to ask if there were 300 phones active there, were they being used by trees? Now, you (Congress) will say that we don’t believe in NTRO either. Strange questions are being asked,” he added.
Just before the Indian Air Force jets struck the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror camp in Balakot on February 26, technical surveillance by Indian intelligence agencies had found 300 mobile phones active at the facility, giving a clear indication of the total number of inmates housed there, sources said here on Monday.
The NTRO had started surveillance of the facility after the Indian Air Force was given clearance to target the camp in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, sources had told ANI on Monday.
On February 26, 12 Mirage 2000 IAF jets penetrated deep inside the Pakistani air space and launched 1,000 kg Spice 2000 bombs at the camp in Balakot, which housed terrorists, including commanders, and an ammunition dump.
“During technical surveillance, it emerged that there was a presence of around 300 mobile phones with active signal strength inside the facility in the days leading up to the strike. The facility was destroyed by the IAF fighters,” added the sources who wished to remain anonymous due to first-hand involvement in operational matters.
The sources added that other Indian intelligence agencies had also corroborated NTRO’s assessment of active targets with inputs of a similar number of JeM operatives in the Balakot facility.
No official number of terrorists killed in the strike has been announced by the government.However, IAF chief BS Dhanoa, at a press conference in Coimbatore on Monday, confirmed that the target had been destroyed by Indian fighter jets and those exact casualty numbers were something that the government would release.
Rajnath Singh assured the people that NDA government won’t compromise on the security of the nation.
“We are not concerned if our government will be formed or not. This nation should remain secure”, the Home Minister said.
He claimed that the NDA government’s policies have made India one of the topmost economies in the world and by 2028 it will become one of the top three economies in the world.
“I can say it with pride that in the last four-and-half years, no one can say that people in our government are tainted with corruption”, he said.
He praised the Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and the central government for its efforts to bring investment and development in the state.
“We believe it from the heart that without developing the North-East, India can’t be developed. Some people are trying to foment trouble here. We will protect the heritage and identity of the North-East,” he said in a bid to calm down tempers on the Citizenship Bill.
Earlier, he inaugurated the Integrated Border Defence Management System (IBDMS). Sonowal was also present on the occasion.
Rajnath praised the IBDMS terming it the best. “When I went to Israel, I saw it and later discussed it in the ministry. I believe that it will significantly ease the burden on our jawans who rely on patrolling day-and-night to secure our borders,” he said, talking to media after the inauguration of the IBDMS.
He even hinted that the IBDMS might be inducted on the LoC as well in future.
On being asked why it could not be implemented in West Bengal, Rajnath said that it was because of the State government that the land acquisition process could not be completed.