Indian Publications Says Defence Minister Told Media About ‘300 Casualties’
An Indian publication, Newslaundry, in its investigation found out that it is highly likely that Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman provided media with the unconfirmed numbers of death in Balakot strike.
According to the publication, soon after the Cabinet Committee on Security meeting over the Balakot strike, which was attended by NSA Ajit Doval, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and other senior officials, the defence minister provided reporters with the casualties’ number.
Sitharaman briefed the reporters off the record and upon persistent questioning said that the strikes resulted in over ‘300 casualties’.
In the wake of Pulwama attack that claimed lives of more than 40 Indian military troops, Indian Air Force intruded into Pakistan’s airspace and claimed to have hit Jaish-e-Mohammed—a militant outfit that claimed responsibility of Pulwama attack— camp in Balakot. In retaliation, Pakistan shot down two Indian aircraft, while capturing an Indian pilot. The pilot was later handed back to India as a “goodwill gesture”. India had claimed that ‘300 militants’ were killed in Balakot, however, Pakistan denied the claim and said India had only damaged few trees. India is yet to provide any evidence to support its claim.