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Flutter over comment on India's ‘self-restraint'

P. S. Suryanarayana

SINGAPORE: India on Saturday said “self-restraint” would be difficult to sustain in the event of another terrorist attack like the 26/11 strike against Mumbai.

Issuing such a guarded warning to Islamabad, Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju told the 10th Asia Security Summit here that India was still in dialogue with Pakistan to try and prevent a repeat attack.

‘Public outrage'

Answering a question at a plenary session of the summit, being organised here by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, Mr. Raju said: “The 26/11 attack on Mumbai was definitely a public outrage. There was a lot of anger in India and, despite the public outrage, India had exercised great self-restraint and dealt in a very mature manner with the government of Pakistan. [We] have had an extensive engagement in trying to bring the perpetrators to book. We have been continuing the dialogue at the government level. While this is going on, the international community is aware of the damning evidence that has come out from David Headley during his interrogation. Against this light, if a provocation is to happen again, I think, it would be hard to justify to our people such a self-restraint. I hope that [such an attack] will not be repeated and that we will have a constructive dialogue with Pakistan in containing these terrorist elements which are causing strife not only in India but also within Pakistan.”

“Engagement continues”

With his comment causing more than a flutter that he warned Pakistan of retaliation for any future terrorist attack on India, Mr. Raju pointed out he had not said anything to that effect. Drawing attention to India's talks with Islamabad, he told The Hindu that “we are continuing to engage extensively with Pakistan to avoid a repeat of such an incident as 26/11.”

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