Bengaluru: Speaking at the press conference that is witnessed every alternate year during the Aero India show in Bengaluru, Nirmala Sitharaman, the defence minister,  who was seated at Hotel Taj, Yeshwanthpur refused to speak much about the Pulwama attack, but promptly replied when one of the reporters asked if the morale of the Indian Armed Force has reduced after the attack. The defence minister begged to differ. She said, “If anything, the morale has only increased after this. The reaction of the citizens of this country has motivated them further.”

It was not the usual press conference that one was hoping for though. The day dawned with news of mid-air collision of two Surya Kiran jets that claimed the life of one pilot during the rehearsals for the show.

Nirmala Sitharaman, though, was all set to take on challenging questions that would be thrown at her. “Surya Kirans will not be part of the show. We will inquire into the incident in detail to find out what caused the collision. These activities come with a lot of risk. The two jets were performing the mirror stunt when this happened,” said Sitharaman along with the Indian Air Force officials present at the event.

Though she was not willing to talk about the terror attack, when asked about Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan seeking evidence of their involvement in the terror, she said, “Right from Mumbai terror attack to now, successive governments have provided dossiers of evidence, and the neighbouring country has done absolutely nothing about it.” 

To a question on whether the defence ministry would work on procuring more Rafale aircraft, Sitharaman said, “Are you suggesting? Then, thank you.”

Sitharaman will be inaugurating the Aero India show on February 20 at Yelahanka Airbase.