Indian opposition parties have taken a swing at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for saying that cloud cover could help the country's warplanes evade Pakistani radars during the Balakot strikes in late February, with politicians slamming his remarks as "ridiculous" and "irresponsible".
In a series of tweets, the leader of the Communist Party, Sitaram Yechury, blasted the prime minister for "insulting" the Indian Air Force and making it appear as if the military is "ignorant and unprofessional".
Modi's words are truly shameful. Most importantly, because they insult our Air Force as being ignorant and unprofessional. The fact that he is talking about all this is itself anti-national; no patriot would do this. pic.twitter.com/jxfGmdmlx7— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) 11 мая 2019 г.
In a follow-up tweet, Yechury wrote that national security "is not something to be trifled with. Such an irresponsible statement from Modi is highly damaging. Somebody like this can’t remain India’s PM".
The leader of the opposition in Jammu and Kashmir's legislative assembly, Omar Abdullah, couldn't remain on the sidelines either and sarcastically took a jab at Modi on Twitter:
Pakistani radar doesn’t penetrate clouds. This is an important piece of tactical information that will be critical when planning future air strikes. https://t.co/OBHwEJfGSW— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) 11 мая 2019 г.
Looks like the tweet got lost in the clouds. Luckily there are screen shots floating around to help pic.twitter.com/zSW7CsdhKL— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) 11 мая 2019 г.
Salman Soz, a member of the Congress Party, has likewise roasted the prime minister over the statement, saying that if Modi truly believes that clouds could help the jets stay off the radar, then "it is a very serious security issue":
On PM Modi's radar & clouds comment, it seems no one clarified for the PM how radars work. If that is the case, then it is a very serious national security issue. No laughing matter!— Salman Anees Soz (@SalmanSoz) 11 мая 2019 г.
The Congress Party itself sneered at Modi, tweeting "He resorted to empty rhetoric during his five-year tenure hoping cloudy weather would keep him off the radar".
Jumla hi fekta raha paanch saal ki sarkar mein,— Congress (@INCIndia) 12 мая 2019 г.
Socha tha cloudy hai mausam,
Nahi aaunga radar mein. pic.twitter.com/xDeOg4Yq5K
During an interview with the TV channel News Nation on Saturday, Modi said "Experts were re-thinking the airstrike due to bad weather, but I said, so much cloud cover and rains could be beneficial. Maybe we could escape their radar. This was my raw wisdom, I said there could be a benefit. Ultimately I said, there's cloud cover, please go ahead".
Islamabad has denied the existence of any such camps in the area, with media citing locals as saying that besides hitting some 15 pine trees, only one elderly villager was hurt in the air raid.
Historically tense relations between India and Pakistan have been simmering since Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e Mohammad allegedly claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a convoy with Indian security forces on 14 February that killed over 40 soldiers.