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Security: Terrorists follow no rules, so India’s response can’t have rules, says EAM

Security: Terrorists follow no rules, so India’s response can’t have rules, says EAM

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Virendra Pandit

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has asserted that since terrorists do not play by rules, there cannot be any rules in India’s answer to them.

India is committed to responding to any act of terrorism perpetrated from across the borders, he said in Pune on Friday.

Attacking the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) dispensation over its weak-kneed response to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, Dr. Jaishankar said that after a lot of deliberation at the government level, nothing fruitful emerged at that time as it was felt that the cost of attacking Pakistan was more than not attacking it.

During an interaction with youth at an event titled “Why Bharat Matters: Opportunity for Youth and Participation in Global Scenario,” he asked that if a similar attack happens now and one does not react to it, how can the next attacks be prevented?

India’s foreign policy has undergone a sea change since 2014 and it is the way terrorism is dealt with.

When asked about countries with which India finds it challenging to maintain relationships, Dr. Jaishankar said India should question whether it should maintain any relationship with certain countries.

“Well, one is just next to us. Let us be honest, the one country that is very, very difficult is Pakistan, and for that, we should only introspect why. One reason for this is us,” he said.

From the very beginning, India was clear that Pakistan was fomenting terrorism, which we could not tolerate under any circumstances. So, our policy should have been vastly different.

“In 2014, Modi ji came. But this problem (terrorism) did not start in 2014. It did not begin with the Mumbai attack. It happened in 1947 when the first people (invaders) attacked Kashmir. It was an act of terrorism.

“They were burning down villages and towns, and killing people. These people were the so-called tribals from Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province. The Pakistan Army backed them. We sent the army, and the integration of Kashmir took place,” Dr. Jaishankar said.

“While the Indian army was taking strong action, we suddenly stopped midway and rushed to the UN, mentioning that the attack was by tribal invaders, instead of calling it an act of terrorism, as if it was a legitimate force,” he said about the Nehru regime’s policy.

In the 1965 Indo-Pak war, Pakistan sent infiltrators first to sabotage.

“We have to be very clear in our minds about terrorism; under no circumstances is terrorism acceptable from any neighbor or from anyone who uses terrorism to force you to sit at the negotiating table. This should never be accepted,” he said.

Sometimes, he said, he is asked about the continuity in India’s foreign policy and he responds clearly that there is 50 percent continuity and 50 percent change.

“One change is regarding terrorism. After the 26/11 Mumbai attack, there was not a single person in the country who felt that we should not have strongly responded to the attack. Everybody in the country felt it. There is an account of that time. The NSA had written that this minister looked at it, that minister looked at it. Everybody deliberated, a lot of analysis took place, and then it was decided that the cost of attacking Pakistan was more than not attacking it. So, after a lot of deliberation, nothing fruitful came out,” he said.

The EAM emphasized that if something like Mumbai happens and you do not react to it, how can you prevent the next one from happening?
“They (terrorists) should not feel that since they are across the border, no one can touch them. Terrorists do not play by any rules. The response to terrorists cannot have any rules,” he said.


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