A-SAT, Pulwama, Jobs: What PM Modi Said in His Latest Interview
Days before the Lok Sabha elections kick off, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given an interview to Republic Bharat's Arnab Goswami, in which spoke about a range of issues – from the escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan to defence deals to his recent address to the nation the state on 'Mission Shakti'. The PM also repeatedly slammed the Opposition during the course of the interview.
Here are the highlights:
On the A-SAT 'Address to the Nation'
The most recent controversy to surround the prime minister before the Lok Sabha polls was his address to the nation on 27 March, wherein he spoke about India's successful anti-satellite missile test. The address was met with criticism from the Opposition, which said it amounted to violation of the Mode Code of Conduct.
When questioned about the same in the interview, Modi attacked the Opposition saying it has a shortage of elementary knowledge. Justifying his address, he said:
“A lot of global planning is needed before an event like the A-SAT test... When you get the time as per the global convenience, it is then that you have to utilise your time. So for us, this was the time that came. These are not things which you can plan for beforehand. These things have to be done quickly.”PM Modi
On Pulwama and IAF Pilot Abhinandan
The controversy around what was PM Modi doing when the Pulwama terror attack took place on 14 February was also brought up during the interview, with Goswami asking him to detail the happenings of the day.
“My programmes are fixed from beforehand. (On 14 February) I was touring Uttarakhand. I had decided to address a rally at 3 pm via a mobile phone. I had also gotten information regarding the attack (at the time). (But) this kind of news is not discussed in such a big rally. In such situations, you have to show a balanced behaviour.”PM Modi
In another part of the interview, while attacking the Opposition, PM Modi brought up the shooting down of IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman's plane and him being taken into custody in Pakistan.
“You would know, when the Abhinandan incident happened, all groups in India should have said in one voice that they are proud of the country’s forces, that an F-16 (Pakistani jet) has been shot (by Indian forces). But instead of that, they were just saying, ‘When will Abhinandan come? When will Abhinandan come?’ This, in a matter of two hours!”PM Modi
The Opposition was “even planning a candle-light march for the IAF pilot”, but Imran Khan's decision to release him spoiled their plans, Modi added.
On India-Pak Relations
PM Modi asserted in the interview that he has spoken to Pakistan whenever terror incidents have taken place.
"Every time, Pakistan has assured me that they'll take action. Whenever such incidents take place, Pakistan has the same approach. But now, I don't want to be stuck in that trap. I am waiting for the moment when decisive action is actually taken against terrorism," he said.
During the course of the interview, Goswami also brought up the unemployment issue in the form of allegations that have been made by the Opposition.
“When the Atal (Bihari Vajpayee) government was there, the same issue was raked up.. But in Atal ji’s tenure, six crore people were employed. Whereas in the UPA’s tenure, 1.5 crore people were employed. But still, it was Atal ji’s government that was slammed.”PM Modi
Modi then went on to highlight his government's track record in terms of employment, saying that under the Mudra Yojana, approximately 15-17 crore people took money, out of which four crore people took it for the first time.
"They must have started some kind of employment," he asserted.
Attacking the Congress
Slamming the Congress, especially over its governments in the past, Modi reportedly said in the interview, "Who wanted to impeach the SC judge? Who brought in Emergency? Before levelling allegations, they should look in the mirror."
Moreover, amid the continuing controversy over the Rafale deal, PM Modi refuted any allegations of wrongdoing, as he accused previous governments of using defence deals as their "ATMs".
"They could not imagine that deals can be done with transparency," he said.
Lastly, in the context of Rahul Gandhi having announced the minimum income scheme – 'NYAY' – aimed at alleviating poverty, Modi told the TV channel:
“Four generations of the same family have spoken about removing poverty. Indira Gandhi also spoke about it. Rajiv Gandhi also spoke about it and now Rahul Gandhi is talking about it... Still, their track record shows that the poor has only grown poorer. Who will trust them?”PM Modi