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Pulwama terror attack a gift to BJP ahead of Lok Sabha election, says former RAW chief AS Dulat

Dulat said nationalism is alright if it is looked at broadly but it may not be good if it is seen narrowly.

Pulwama terror attack a gift to BJP ahead of Lok Sabha election, says former RAW chief AS Dulat

Hyderabad: The Pulwama terror attack was a gift to the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha election and it was 'alright' to carry out surgical strikes on terror camp in Pakistan, former chief of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) AS Dulat said on Saturday.

"I think it is, I mentioned this before, I think it was a gift from the Jaish to the BJP or to Modiji. Because of the election. It was inevitable that something would happen. Something would be done. So, the surgical strike deep inside Pakistan was alright," he told reporters here. He was asked how he assessed the present government's handling of the Pulwama terror attack and about the way ahead.

Dulat said nationalism is alright if it is looked at broadly but it may not be good if it is seen narrowly. "The larger point I am making is that what is sufficient is patriotism. We need not stress on nationalism. Because, the indications worldwide are, in the past also, that nationalism can lead to war," he said.

Dulat, who was speaking on the sidelines of the annual Asian Arab Awards 2019 organised here by the Indian Economic Trade Organisation, was asked about his comments that nationalism is unbalancing the world. He quoted a former president of France as saying that "we should shed our prejudices. Otherwise, it leads to nationalism and nationalism means war."

Another foreign leader had said, "nationalism is wrecking my patriotism." "The point I am trying to make is that if you look at nationalism broadly, it is alright. If you start looking at it narrowly, then it starts affecting people," he said.

In his speech earlier, Dulat stressed the need for promoting peace. He praised New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for her "they are us" comments in the aftermath of attacks at mosques in that country.

Referring to the "they are us" comment, he said the words should set an example for the world, that ultimately everybody is one and the "whole business of nationalism is going to take this world nowhere". He favoured talks with Kashmiris and also with Pakistan as the way forward.

"We need to talk. We need to talk to the Kashmiris. We need to talk ultimately to Pakistan also. There is no other way," Dulat said. He was asked what should be the way forward for the Indian government to deal with such kind of issues (terror and others).

Asked why no solution has been reached (Kashmir issue) even after 60 years and the way ahead, he recalled former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as having said the government then was a "signature away" from reaching an agreement.

"If you recall, Manmohan Singh while demitting office said that they were only a signature away from reaching an agreement. Dr Manmohan Singh and Musharraf or India and Pakistan, if that agreement had been reached and that agreement actually was an agreement on the Line of Control, then I think we would have had about 15 years of peace in Kashmir," Dulat said.