Nirmala Sitharaman says Navjot Singh Sidhu could have 'avoided' hugging Pakistan's Qamar Javed Bajwa

New Delhi: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Tuesday that Navjot Singh Sidhu's gesture of hugging Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa impacted soldiers back home and asserted that the Punjab minister could have "avoided it".

 Nirmala Sitharaman says Navjot Singh Sidhu could have avoided hugging Pakistans Qamar Javed Bajwa

File image of defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman. PTI

Cricketer-turned politician Sidhu had courted controversy by hugging Pakistan's army chief during his visit to the country for the swearing-in of Imran Khan as prime minister.

He had claimed that he did so as Bajwa told him that the Pakistan government was working for opening of the Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims from Indian state of Punjab.

"Sidhu has a lot of admirers...somebody of that stature going there and then hugging the chief of Pakistan army, an army about which in India we have very clear feelings, it certainly has an impact on soldiers..., it demoralises the people. I wish Sidhu would have avoided it (hug)," she said during an interaction at the at the Indian Women's Press Corp (IWPC).

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Updated Date: Sep 18, 2018 17:18:35 IST