New Delhi: Union finance minister and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley, in a cryptic comment, lashed out at the opposition on Wednesday. Talking about the opposition’s stand on IAF’s Balakot airstrike and Mission Shakti, Jaitley said, “When the finger points to the moon the idiot always looks at the finger”. 

The astute lawyer that Jaitley is, he quickly added a legal caveat saying, his mention of the word ‘idiot’ does not refer to any of his ‘political friends’.

Opposition back at it, again

Jaitley was at his most aggressive avatar on Wednesday. On March 27, India conducted Mission Shakti, an anti-satellite missile test, thus entering an exclusive club of three other countries who have this capability: the US, China, and Russia. As soon as the Prime Minister announced this breakthrough, the opposition didn’t lose time to politicise it. 

While TMC chief Mamata Banerjee alleged its a violation of the model code of conduct, Congress president Rahul Gandhi mocked the PM in a tweet saying, “I would also like to wish the PM a very happy World Theatre Day.” 

This, even as Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav hit out at the PM claiming Modi got himself an hour of free TV, diverting the nation’s attention. 

Jaitley’s counter, ‘idiot’ barb et al

Hitting out at the opposition, Jaitley said, “Well, I tell you, the lower they go, the stronger we will emerge.” In fact, the finance minister particularly referred to Mamata Banerjee without naming her in his retort. Jaitley said, “As far as this whole issue of (the) Election Commission is concerned, which they have raised, I wish to say something. India’s nuclear programme is a continuing programme. It’s not a new programme. And, therefore, … it can’t be put to a halt because it doesn’t suit the West Bengal chief minister or any other political leaders.”

Jaitley stated the opposition had a chance to correct itself after Balakot, but it did not. After Balakot strike where the IAF went deep inside Pakistan to crush a Jaish terror training camp, many opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi were seen asking for evidence. 

“It’s regrettable that the elementary lessons on national security are not known to my friends in the opposition,” said the BJP leader, flanked by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and I&B minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.

What’s Mission Shakti?

India on March 27 used an indigenously made anti-satellite missile (ASAT) to hit a live satellite target, which was on a low earth orbit at a height of 300 km from the earth’s surface.  On Wedsnesday, India conducted Mission Shakti from the APJ Abdul Kalam Island launch complex. 

This was a technological mission carried out jointly by the DRDO and ISRO. The satellite used in the mission was one of India’s existing satellites operating in a lower orbit. 

The test was fully successful, achieving all the parameters as per the plan. The test required extensive mathematical calculations and an extremely high degree of precision and technical capability.