India’s achievement of striking at terror roots shouldn’t be discounted: Jaitley

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that India’s “great achievement” of having struck at “the root of terrorism” should not be discounted by raising “insignificant” issues such as how many terrorists were killed in the February 26 air strikes on the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) camp in Balakot, Pakistan.

“The Air Force chief has already answered it. Those who had information in the government have already answered it. But the core issue is not this,” Jaitley said in response to a media query.

“The core issue is that India tried to strike at the source of terrorism to root out this menace through surgical strikes and through air strikes. And India has been successful in this. Why should some people be worried about this?” he added.

He said that the country has faced the scourge of terrorism for long and that merely adopting a defensive posture against terror would not help.

“Should we be continuously in a defensive posture to protect ourselves or should we reach out and strike at the source of terrorism? I think the whole nation is welcoming this step (of aggressively hitting at terror camps)” Jaitley said.

The Minister said that the common people in India supported and appreciated the government “for its decision” and the armed forces for their capabilities.

“Therefore, one should not try to deflect attention from such a great achievement by raising insignificant issues. The country’s politicians, which includes myself, must understand that the public is more intelligent than us,” he said.

Some prominent leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including party President Amit Shah, have pegged the number of JeM militants’ casualties between 250-300, though both the government and the Indian Air Force (IAF) have officially given no figure.

IAF chief B.S. Dhanoa only said that the IAF “successfully accomplished” the mission assigned to it, without giving any further details.