The Mumbai serial blasts brought back the debate whether should India continue to talk with Pakistan unless it stops supporting terror outfits in the country.
In a candid interview with Zeenews.com’s Swati Chaturvedi on her chat show ‘Kahiye Janab’, senior BJP leader and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley shared his views on terrorism across the border, Indo-Pak talks and the extradition of the most wanted man in India, Dawood Ibrahim.
Here are the excerpts.
Swati: India has always been a soft target for terrorist groups. It seems as if a common man’s life is of no value here. Your thoughts on it?
Arun: After the 9/11 terrorist attack, the American government not only strengthened their security forces but also their intelligence and police mechanism in such a way that no terror group till now has dared to attack America again. But in India, if a terrorist attack takes place in any of its region, no strong action is taken which emboldens the terrorists groups to do a repeat attack.
Swati: Indians have a fundamental right – ‘Right to live’. The only thing the citizen of this country wants is to live a simple and safe life. How can this be made possible?
Arun: It is high time that we take a strong decision regarding the security of India. It is a matter of serious concern. If the country’s security is linked to the ‘vote bank politics’, such terror attacks will take place time and again.
Swati: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has said that Pakistan is also a victim of terrorist activities like India.
Arun: In 2004, the pact between AB Vajpayee and Pervez Musharraf took place on the condition that Pakistan’s land will not be used for encouraging terrorist activities. But recently in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Manmohan Singh said that Pakistan too is a victim of terrorist activities like India and that the talks between the two countries will continue. I feel that talks and terrorist activities cannot go hand in hand. All major terrorist activities which have taken place around the world point towards Let, ISI or some such Pakistani terror groups … People who are in favour of talks with Pakistan need to understand who they are talking to.
Swati: A minister in Mumbai recently compared the two nations but Indians do not want to be compared with Pakistan ever. What do you think?
Arun: I agree that comparing India and Pakistan in any way is not justified. According to me, there are four things which can be dangerous for any country. They are weak local administration, high rate of corruption, support to terrorist groups and nuclear capability. And Pakistan is one such nation which has all these four characteristics.
Swati: People say that Pakistan is like a tourist hub for all the terrorist groups. What is your take on it?
Arun: Pakistan is the epicenter for all terrorist groups. On the one hand it claims that it supports USA in its war against terror but on the other hand, it supports various terrorist groups. I believe that any terror incident in India or in the world automatically gets linked with Pakistan.
Swati: When the attack on Parliament took place, BJP was in power. It did not take any strong action against the attack. Now, the Congress too has failed to take any strong action after the Mumbai serial blasts. What is the solution?
Arun: According to me all the political parties should find a common method to fight terrorism. Even the Judicial system in India should take strong decisions to punish the terrorists. Terrorism is an attack on the country’s unity. We should find ways to fight against it.
Swati: It is a myth, that whether Pakistan flourishes or fails, both the situations will affect India?
Arun: I feel that Pakistan in itself has become a puzzle for everyone. Everyone in the world is finding ways on how to deal with Pakistan which is becoming more and more radical. It has failed to keep a distance with terrorism. In such a situation, I don’t think USA or India can have good relations with Pakistan.
Swati: How should one talk to Pakistan?
Arun: We should have clear conditions laid down before talking to them. I don’t think it is worth talking to Pakistan until it doesn’t separate its way from terrorism.
Swati: Dawood Ibramin is on top of the most wanted terrorist list of the world. But even after so many years, India has still not been able to do anything about it.
Arun: According to me Dawood is just one example. When secretary of the state, Hillary Clinton visited Pakistan two months back, she gave them a list of 5 international terrorists who are believed to be in Pakistan. After a few days, Pakistan’s intelligence claimed that Ilyas Kashmiri was dead. But recently I heard that he is still alive. Everyone now knows Pakistan’s politics of ‘deceit and deception’ … Dawood is an international terrorist. I believe that we should make best use of our foreign policy and intelligence to get him.
Swati: After the Mumbai blasts, Rahul Gandhi said that all the terrorist attacks in the country cannot be stopped.
Arun: Rahul Gandhi does not think much on such things. All the political parties and the civil society should take the subject of national security seriously.
Swati: In the monsoon session of Parliament will the BJP pay emphasis on a new law against terrorism?
Arun: Definitely. Mumbai blasts and the activities of terrorist groups is an important concern. BJP will take any such important issues related to India’s security in Parliament.
Adapted by Heena Mann