In what might come as a surprise to Indians, Pakistan Army spokesperson Asif Ghafoor on Thursday defended Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, facing heat for performing 'Shastra Puja' after receiving the first Rafale fighter jet in France, saying, "Nothing wrong in Rafale Puja as it goes by the religion."
"Nothing wrong in #RafalePuja as it goes by the religion and that must be respected. Please, remember....it's not the machine alone which matters but competence, passion & resolve of the men handling that machine. Proud of our PAF Shaheens," tweeted Asif Ghafoor on Thursday.
Nothing wrong in #RafalePuja as it goes by the religion and that must be respected.— Asif Ghafoor (@peaceforchange) October 10, 2019
Please remember....it’s not the machine alone which matters but competence, passion & resolve of the men handling that machine.
Proud of our PAF Shaheens.#PAFtheMenAtTheirBest
Ghafoor's defence of Singh comes at a time when tensions between the two South Asian neighbours are at an all-time high. Indian action to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir did not go down well with Pakistan.
Singh on October 8, received the first of the 36 French-built Rafale fighter jet in the French port city of Bordeaux and performed 'Shastra Puja' (worship of weapons) on the auspicious occasion of Vijayadashami.
He emblazoned the Rafale aircraft with an 'Om' and laid flowers, coconut and lemons to ward off the evil eye.
Following the event, Singh received a lot of flak on social media and also from the Congress party for conducting the puja. Senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge described Singh performing Shashtra Puja as "tamasha". Congress leader Udit Raj also raised objections saying the day "superstition" ends in India, the country will start making its own fighter jets.
(With inputs from ANI)