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'If 26/11 happens now...': Jaishankar says India's policy on terrorism has changed since 2014

Jaishankar said India highlighted at the UN that Pakistan sent tribal people to attack Kashmir in 1947 but failed to recognise them as 'terrorists'. He also criticised the Congress-led UPA government for not taking appropriate action against Pakistan for the 26/11 attacks.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Pune Updated on: April 13, 2024 10:43 IST
Jaishankar, terrorism, Pakistan
Image Source : PTI (FILE) External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar

Pune: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday asserted that India's policy on dealing with terrorist activities has changed since 2014 after a recent report by The Guardian claimed that New Delhi has carried out 20 targeted assassinations on terrorists residing deep in Pakistan since 2020 at the Centre. Citing Indian and Pakistani officials, the report said the Indian intelligence agency RAW was involved in the killings in Pakistan.

While interacting with the youth, the minister was asked about which countries India has difficulty maintaining relationships with. He said, "While the Indian Army was taking its action, we stopped and went to the UN and mentioned the work of tribal invaders instead of terrorism. If we, from the very start, were clear that Pakistan is using terrorism, then would have had a very different policy."

He also said that the government in 1947 labelled the tribal people as "infiltrators' and not 'terrorists'. "In 1947, the first people came from Pakistan in Kashmir, and attacked Kashmir...it was terrorism. They were blazing towns, cities. They were killing people... What we did do? We sent the army, and then Kashmir's integration happened. The army was doing its work but we stopped. After that, we went to the UN. If you see, there is no word of terrorism in it... It says tribal invasion, like it was a legitimate force," Jaishankar added.

'If 26/11 happens now, then what?'

He also drew a parallel with the previous Congress-led UPA government at the Centre vis-a-vis the response to the heinous 26/11 attacks in Mumbai that killed over 160 people, saying a country "cannot have any rules" when dealing with the perpetrators of terror as the latter don't play by the rules. "We have to be very clear in our mindset. In no situation is terrorism acceptable," he said.

Slamming the Congress, Jaishankar said that the UPA government held various rounds of discussions after the 26/11 attacks and came to the conclusion that Pakistan should not be attacked. "After the Mumbai attack, there was not a single person who felt we should not have responded. But it was thought at the time that the cost of attacking Pakistan is more than not attacking Pakistan," he remarked.

"If something like Mumbai (26/11) happens now and if one does not react then how does one prevent the next attack? They (terrorists) should not think; we are this side of the line, so no one could attack us. Terrorists do not play by any rules. The answer to terrorists cannot have any rules," the EAM added. When asked about continuity in the country's foreign policy, Jaishankar said, "My answer is yes. There is 50 percent continuity and there is 50 percent change."

'Ghar me ghus ke mara': PM Modi 

Meanwhile, PM Modi on Thursday said terrorists are being "killed in their own homes" in the 10 years of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre, referring to the Uri surgical strike and the Balakot air strike. "Today, there is a strong government in the country. Under this 'mazboot Modi sarkar, atankwaadiyon ko ghar mein ghus ke mara jata hai'. The Indian tricolour has become a guarantee of security even in the war zone, he said during a rally at Dehradun.

He further said that only his government had the courage to abolish Article 370 and triple talaq, while lashing out at "weak governments" that have enabled the nation's enemies to take advantage. "During the Congress regime, the soldiers did not even have bulletproof jackets. There was no proper arrangement to protect them from enemy bullets," he added.

Last week, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also asserted that India will enter Pakistan to kill anyone who tries to escape in the neighbouring nation after carrying out terrorist activities in the country. "India always wants to maintain good relations with its neighbouring countries ... But if anyone shows India the angry eyes again and again, comes to India and tries to promote terrorist activities, we will not spare them," he said in an interview.

(with inputs from agencies)

ALSO READ | 'We don't...': US refrains from commenting on report claiming India involved in targeted killings in Pakistan

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