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"The answer to terrorists cannot have any rules": EAM S Jaishankar reaffirms muscular response to cross-border terrorism

PUNE: After a report in the leading British daily The Guardian claimed that the country's external espionage agency R&AW took out wanted terrorists deep inside Pakistan at the behest of the Centre, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday underlined the government's unwavering commitment to respond to any act of terrorism perpetrated from across the border.

Drawing a parallel with the previous Congress-led UPA government at the Centre, with regard to its response to the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, the External Affairs Minister said a country "cannot have any rules" when dealing with the perpetrators of terror as the latter don't play by the rules.

"After the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, the UPA government held various rounds of discussion only to come to the conclusion that 'the cost of attacking Pakistan is more than the cost of not attacking it'. Something like Mumbai happens, if you don't react to it, how can you prevent the next one from happening?" the EAM said during an interaction with the youths of Pune at the launch of the Marathi translation of his book 'Why Bharat Matters'.

"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.

Asked which country was the most difficult when it comes to keeping and cultivating good bilateral ties, Jaishankar pointed to Pakistan as he invoked previous acts of terror perpetrated from across the border in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

He said Pakistan sent tribal people from its north-western part to launch attacks in the erstwhile Indian province but the government back then labelled them as 'infiltrators', and not 'terrorists', almost as if to say that they represented a 'legitimate force'.

"Narendra Modi came (to be Prime Minister) only in 2014, but this problem did not begin in 2014. It started in 1947, not even after the Mumbai terrorist attacks (of 26/11). This started in 1947. 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. These were people from Pakistan's northwest front...the Pakistani army put them on the frontlines and asked them to totally disrupt Kashmir, saying, 'we will come after you'," Jaishankar said.

"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 (India's demands before the UN on the Kashmir dispute back in the day). It says tribal invasion, like it was a legitimate force. In 1965, the Pakistan Army, before attacking, sent infiltrators... We have to be very clear in our mindset. In no situation is terrorism acceptable," Jaishankar added.

In May of last year, the External Affairs Minister said the "victims of terrorism do not sit together with perpetrators of terrorism".

Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers, Jaishankar tore into then-Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, over the latter's 'weaponising terrorism' remarks.

"Victims of terrorism do not sit together with perpetrators of terrorism to discuss terrorism. Victims of terrorism defend themselves, counter acts of terrorism, they call it out, they legitimise it and that is exactly what is happening. To come here and preach these hypocritical words as though we are on the same boat," Jaishankar said.

 

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