Was home ministry team tricked to extend its Pak stay during 26/11?

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 11, 2016 08:41 IST
Smoke billowing out of the Taj hotel in Mumbai during the 26/11 terror attacks. (HT file photo)

Was an Indian home ministry delegation tricked and kept stranded in Pakistan as a suicide squad began its attack in Mumbai on the night of November 26, 2008?

A delegation led by then Union home secretary Madhukar Gupta went to Islamabad for home secretary-level talks with his counterpart as part of the bilateral composite dialogue process.

The talks were held on November 25, 2008. Gupta also wanted to meet Pakistan’s interior minister but was told that he was out of town and a meeting would be possible only on November 26. Thus, the trip was extended by a day. After Gupta’s meeting, the Pakistanis took the delegation to Murree in the evening where they learnt about the attack.

Read: India-Pak in touch? Basit’s ‘suspension’ of talks may be false alarm

Former Intelligence Bureau special director Rajinder Kumar, who was part of the delegation, said it was quite possible that Pakistani did it deliberately. “In hindsight, I can say it is quite possible,” said Kumar.

According to Gupta, the bigger issue here is Pakistan’s duplicity.

“The attack happened when an Indian delegation on their soil was trying to normalise relations between the two countries,” he said, adding that he received and made many calls from Murree after learning about the terror strike. The delegation returned to India on November 27.

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