NEW DELHI, Jan 30: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday cited Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks that there cannot be a better time to set new goals in India-Israel relations to take a dig at him, saying it is the best time to ask Israel if they have any advanced version of the Pegasus spyware.
Chidambaram’s attack at the Government came a day after a New York Times report claimed that India bought Pegasus spyware as part of a USD 2 billion defence deal with Israel in 2017. The report triggered a major controversy with the Opposition alleging that the Government indulged in illegal snooping that amounted to “treason”.
“PM said that it is the best time to set new goals in the India-Israel relationship. Of course, it is the best time to ask Israel if they have any advanced version of the Pegasus spyware,” Chidambaram said.
“The last deal was for USD 2 billion. India can do better this time. If we get more sophisticated spyware ahead of the 2024 elections, we can give them even USD 4 billion,” the former home minister said.
In a special video message on Saturday on the completion of 30 years of full-fledged diplomatic relations between India and Israel, Prime Minister Modi had said there cannot be a better time to set new goals for taking forward India-Israel relations and asserted that the importance of the relationship has increased amid significant changes in the world.
Chidambaram also attacked Union Minister Gen (retd) V K Singh for calling The New York Times “Supari Media”.
“Minister V K Singh has called the New York Times ‘supari media’. Was he not the one who called Indian media ‘presstitutes’?” Chidambaram said in another tweet.
“I wonder if he has ever read newspapers like the New York Times or Washington Post. I doubt if he knows the role played by the two newspapers in exposing the Watergate scandal and the Pentagon Papers. If he does not wish to read history, he can at least watch the movies!” the senior Congress leader said.
While Singh had called The New York Times “Supari Media”, a government source had said the matter related to the Pegasus software was being monitored by a committee under the Supreme Court — headed by retired Supreme Court judge R V Raveendran — and its report was awaited. (PTI)