AgencyNew Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday rejected the opposition’s argument that elections should not be fought on national security issues, saying security and terrorism are the most important issues in long run while all other challenges are capable of early resolution. He also said that the biggest challenge before India is the issue of Jammu & Kashmir and terror as it concerns nation’s sovereignty. “India’s opposition argues that elections have to be fought on the ‘real issues’ and not on the issues of national security. It is my endeavour to argue that national security and terrorism are the most important issues which concern India in the long run. All other challenges are capable of early resolution,” Jaitley said in a facebook post titled ‘Why Jammu and Kashmir, and new approach to terrorism will remain a key political issue’. The opposition parties had accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of politicising martyrdom of over 40 CRPF personnel in Pulwama and Indian Air Force’s retaliatory attack at Balakot in Pakistan for electoral gains. Several former service chiefs and military veterans have written to President Ram Nath Kovind, expressing concern over political leaders taking credit for military operations to pursue political agenda. Giving reasons for making national security and terrorism subject matters of electoral debate, Jaitley said, “it relates to country’s sovereignty, integrity and security”. “Terror supported from across the border can’t be fought either with velvet gloves or a policy of appeasement,” he said, adding the two regional parties (PDP and NC) have played a disappointing role, and the current leadership of the opposition parties have hardly a roadmap except to tread on the path to disaster. This challenge, Jaitley added, can be resolved with a fresh approach, which is uncompromising on terror, and determination to enforce the rule of law with commitment to total integration. He further said that during the course of election campaign, whenever issues relating to the terror attack at Pulwama and the air strikes at Balakot are raised, India’s opposition is on the back-foot. “A strong Government and a leader with clarity alone is capable of resolving the Kashmir issue. This will necessarily require reversal of the historical blunders of the past,” the minister said. Referring to the past Congress governments, he said the challenge cannot be resolved by those who created the problem and who believe that a “loose constitutional connect” will lead to integration. He added that it could only be done through a fresh approach “which is uncompromising on terror” and “committed to total integration” and through “reversal of the historical blunders”. Targeting the Congress, Jaitley said it was identified with the creation of the problem itself by “wishing the issue away” when Pakistan did not reconcile to Kashmir being a part of India.
“Instead of working for total integration, the party wanted a loose and liberal constitutional connect between rest of the nation and the state under an erroneous impression that such an arrangement would further the cause of integration,” he said in a Facebook post.
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