Goa minister cautions Parrikar over relations with Pakistan


As border hostilities between neighbours India and Pakistan escalate, Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza hasadvised his former boss and now Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to “be very careful” and “not to escalate issues”.

Speaking to IANS on the sidelines of a media event late Tuesday, D’Souza has counselled Parrikar to be measured in his responses and not over-react, which the deputy chief minister claims, may escalate affairs further.

“You have to be very careful… not to escalate issues… You see, the responses have to be always be measured. We cannot over-react also I feel,” said D’Souza told Parrikar, who until a few weeks ago was serving as Goa chief minister.

D’Souza’s comments come a week after Parrikar, while reacting to a ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops in Jammu’s Pallanwala area on Dec 31, said that Indian forces should retaliate with “double the force” in case of an attack on a border army post.

Parrikar, undoubtedly Goa’s tallest contemporary political leader, in his several stints as chief minister has often triggered controversy in the past with his comments.

Parrikar’s new stint as defence minister has coincided with escalated border tension and the recent controversy surrounding the mysterious explosion of a Pakistani fishing vessel off Porbandar in Gujarat, among other issues.

D’Souza said that being measured does not translate into weakness and that patience is a virtue especially in a position as exalted and sensitive as that of a union defence minister.

“We cannot show that we are weak, we are strong. At the same time tit for tat is not an answer… Not every time. The world knows that we are strong, but patience is also a virtue,” said D’Souza, who was also in the race of succession to the chief minister’s chair following Parrikar’s elevation in the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led cabinet.

D’Souza had publicly staked claim as Parrikar’s successor to head the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led coalition government in Goa, but state BJP president Laxmikant Parsekar was eventually appointed to the post.

D’Souza further said that in an age of diplomacy, talking is more important than just slugging it out.

“It’s not a show of strength basically. We are in an age of diplomacy where we have to talk and resolve issues rather than fight it out,” he said.

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