© Reuters. Pakistani officials say the Pakistani soldier stands on the edge of a crater after Indian military planes hit the village of Jaba near Balakot on Feb.26
By Alasdair Pal and Rajendra Jadhav
NEW DELHI / MUMBAI (Reuters) – Indian opposition parties on Monday called for an investigation into chat messages from a leading TV host that they said they were previously aware of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government air strikes against Pakistan in 2019.
Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the republican television network, told the head of a television rating agency India would launch a "bigger-than-normal strike" against its arch-rival three days before Indian fighter jets hit suspected militant targets on Pakistani soil.
The raid brought the two nations to the brink of war.
"With regard to Pakistan, the government is confident that it will strike in ways that will delight the people," read a transcript of messages sent by Goswami. "Exact words used."
The news, reported by Indian media and seen by Reuters, is part of an indictment sheet filed by Mumbai police investigating the Republic's alleged setting of ratings – charges the network denies.
Goswami denied prior knowledge of the air strikes that took place weeks after an attack by Pakistani Islamic militants on an Indian paramilitary convoy in the Pulwama district of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
"India's intention to strike back on Pakistan after the Pulwama attack was an officially established position," he said in a statement released by the republic.
"In the mind of a nationalist Indian there was no doubt that we would strike back," he added, accusing opposition parties of acting as a "mouthpiece" for Pakistan.
Indian Defense and Foreign Ministries spokesmen did not immediately respond to requests for comments on the transcripts.
The republic has often taken positions in support of the Modi government, and Goswami is known for his aggressive attacks on the opposition in his nighttime prime-time program, one of the most watched in the country.
India's main opposition party in Congress and Shiv Sena, a regional party that governs Maharashtra state, where the TV station is based, have both called for the government to investigate the embassies.
Shashi Tharoor, a lawmaker in Congress, said the embassies required a "serious investigation" by the Modi government into making national security a top priority.
The embassies have rekindled tension with Pakistan. Islamabad's Foreign Ministry said the minutes showed that the strikes were designed to coincide with a general election that Modi won in a landslide a few months later.
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the information contained on this website is not necessarily real-time or accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indices, futures) and forex prices are not provided by exchanges, but by market makers. Therefore, prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price. This means that the prices are indicative and not suitable for trading purposes. Therefore, Fusion Media is not responsible for any trading losses you may suffer from using this data.
Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media assumes no liability for any loss or damage caused by reliance on the information contained on this website, such as data, offers, charts and buy / sell signals. Please be fully informed about the risks and costs associated with trading in the financial markets. This is one of the riskiest forms of investment possible.