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S Jaishankar Reflects on India's Response to Terrorism: 'If 26/11 Happens Now...'

S Jaishankar said that if an attack like the November 2008 Mumbai attacks were to happen now, and if one does not react, then "how can you prevent the next one from happening?" He also said that terrorists shouldn't feel that "no one can touch us" just because they are on the other side of the border.

"Terrorists do not play by any rules. The answer to the terrorist cannot have any rules," he said during an interactive session in Pune on Friday evening on his book, "Why Bharat Matters".

When asked about which country India finds it difficult to maintain relations with, Jaishankar said, "Ek toh bagal mein hai (there is one next door). One of the biggest challenges today, and let us be honest, because all of us know. One very difficult one is Pakistan."

"We should ourselves look at why this is so. One reason for this is us. If we had, from the very start, been clear that Pakistan is using terrorism, and this would not have been tolerated under any circumstances, we would have had a very different policy," he said.

Jaishankar went on to say that Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, "but this problem did not begin in 2014 nor when Mumbai was attacked in 2008. This started way back in 1947."


"In 1947, when the first people from Pakistan came to Kashmir and attacked it, that was terrorism. Cities and villages were being burnt, and they were killing people on a large scale. These were tribals from Pakistan's north-west front, whom the Pakistan army put on the frontlines to totally disrupt Kashmir, saying 'we will come after you'," he noted.

"We sent the army, and the integration of Kashmir took place. 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... We have to be very clear in our minds. In no situation is terrorism acceptable, or if any neighbour or anybody uses terrorism to bring one to the negotiating table, this should never be accepted."

Speaking about continuity in India's foreign policy, Jaishankar said that "there is 50 per cent continuity and there is 50 per cent change".



"That one change is on terrorism. After the Mumbai 2008 attack, there was not a single person who felt we should not have responded. The then 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 Pakistan'."

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