‘They didn’t retaliate because…': Jaishankar slams Congress for ‘inaction’ despite 26/11 | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘They didn’t retaliate because…': Jaishankar slams Congress for ‘inaction’ despite 26/11

By, New Delhi
Apr 24, 2024 11:01 AM IST

The November 2008 attacks in Mumbai, that took place under the Congress-led UPA government, are described by many as the "worst" in India's history.

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government “justified” not retaliating to the 26/11 attacks as it “decided” that “hitting Pakistan would cost more than not striking” the neighbouring nation, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Monday, slamming the erstwhile Congress-led regime.

26/11 - Mumbai Under Terror Attack - Firing - Fire at Taj Hotel - Fire brigade officers fighting with fire at Taj hotel - HT photo by Hemant Padalkar. 27.11.08
26/11 - Mumbai Under Terror Attack - Firing - Fire at Taj Hotel - Fire brigade officers fighting with fire at Taj hotel - HT photo by Hemant Padalkar. 27.11.08

“After the Mumbai attacks, the national security advisor (NSA) of the previous UPA government wrote that ‘we sat, we debated. We considered all the options. Then we decided to do nothing and the justification was that we felt that the cost of attacking Pakistan was more than not doing so'," Jaishankar quoted the then-NSA, MK Narayanan, as saying.

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“I leave you (the audience) to judge,” the ex-Foreign Secretary added.

Jaishankar was, at the time, India's High Commissioner in Singapore. In June 2019, he joined the current ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and became the External Affairs Minister in the saffron party's Narendra Modi government, which was just beginning its second consecutive term in office.

The BJP, which was then the principal party, has repeatedly called out the Congress for not retaliating to what many describe as the "worst terror attack" in India's history. Comparing itself to its predecessor, the BJP repeatedly cites the September 2016 surgical strikes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and the February 2019 Balakot airstrikes inside Pakistan, as “proof” of its “strong” national security credentials.

Senior Indian Air Force (IAF) officials, too, have previously claimed that the UPA regime “never gave the go ahead” despite the force being “prepared for a strike that was to be 100% successful.”

Also Read | ‘India, Pak were on brink of war after Mumbai 26/11 attack’

On his part, Narayanan, the Manmohan Singh-led Congress government's NSA, has previously said that he (Narayanan) himself “pressed for some immediate visible retaliation of some sort.”

“To have done so would have been emotionally satisfying and gone some way toward erasing the shame of the incompetence that India’s police and security agencies displayed in the glare of the world’s television lights for three full days,” according to the former NSA.

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