NEW DELHI: Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar accused Pakistan on Thursday of “pretending to sleep” and not being serious about the probe into the Pathankot airbase terror attack.

The Press Trust of India quoted him as ruling out allowing the Pakistani special investigation team into the airbase.

Noting it is a matter that concerns the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of External Affairs, Mr Parrikar told India Today TV channel: “If somebody pretends to fall asleep, it’s difficult to find out.”

He was asked about Pakistan’s reported claim that the evidence given by India was not concrete.

Reminded that Pakistan has also claimed that Pakistani mobile numbers given by India were “unregistered and had fake identities”, Mr Parrikar responded: “Fake identity and non-registration indicates connivance of some. You have to investigate and find out who gave numbers that are not registered.”

He said that the Indian government has been continuously giving evidence relating to so many attacks to Pakistan. “If someone is serious, he can definitely act,” he said.

Asked whether the Pakistani SIT would be allowed inside the Pathankot base, the minister said he was not aware of any such request from them.

“As far as air bases and defence installations are concerned, no one can enter them without permission of the Defence Ministry,” he said.

Asked again, he said whatever information they need, it can be provided by NIA through the External Affairs Ministry.

“The incident has happened here and we will investigate what has happened here. What we are asking them to investigate is the role of their people in their country,” he said.

The Defence Minister also said he is “hurt” by the US’ decision to sell F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.

Mr Parrikar said the ministry plans to cut the ‘slack and flab’ of the military. However, according to PTI, he made it clear that the “effective component of armed forces will not be compromised”.

Published in Dawn, February 19th, 2016

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