Former Indian Naval Chief terms Balakot air strike ‘election stunt’


NEW DELHI (DNA News) – A former Indian Chief of Naval Staff while terming India’s airstrike against Pakistan ‘invalid’ has urged not to use the armed forces for political gains.Admiral (Retd) L Ramdas wrote a letter to Election Commission on behalf of other armed forces veterans too.He has warned against political misuse of events like the Indian airstrike in Azad Kashmir “to send triumphalist or jingoistic messages which can influence the electorate”.He expressed concern over “instances of using the Armed Forces for political gains, especially in the aftermath of both Pulwama and the strikes in Balakot and the shooting down, capture and repatriation of an Indian Air Force pilot”.He said some parties were “brazenly pushing their agenda using images, uniforms and other examples, showing pictures of the armed forces with political figures, in public spaces, in media, election rallies and so on”.”This is completely unacceptable since it has the potential to destroy the very foundations and value system of our armed forces, drawn from the vision, the spirit and intent of the Indian Constitution,” Admiral Ramdas said.”We therefore, urge the Election Commission to immediately intervene and send a strong message to the political parties that there should be no misuse of the photographs as indeed any other material/reports or other information pertaining to the armed forces for electioneering in any way.”His rebuke came following recent tensions after a deadly bombing in Occupied Kashmir last month.Matters escalated alarmingly after a massive suicide bombing killed 40 Indian troops on February 14. Twelve days later Indian warplanes launched a strike inside Pakistani territory, claiming to have hit a militant camp. An infuriated Islamabad denied casualties or damage, but a day later launched its own incursion across the LoC.That sparked the dogfight which ended as Pakistan shot Indian aircrafts and captured Abhinandan.Prime Minister Imran Khan unexpectedly announced Thursday that he would be released in the first sign of a potential thaw.Khan alluded to the catastrophic consequences of nuclear war and called for talks — even as he warned India should not take the announcement as a sign of weakness.