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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

26/11 response should have been stronger, writes Tewari in book; BJP says UPA froze

As Cong maintains silence, Adhir targets colleague over his views; BJP says forces were ready to strike but UPA govt froze

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: November 24, 2021 3:42:09 am
Manish TewariIn the book titled ‘10 Flashpoints: 20 years-National Security Situations That Impacted India’ that is set to be released on December 2, Manish Tewari has looked back at the security situations that have impacted India in the last two decades.

Days after a controversy erupted over Salman Khurshid’s observation in his book equating political Hindutva with “jihadist” Islam of groups like Islamic State and Boko Haram of Nigeria, his party colleague and Lok Sabha MP Manish Tewari’s criticism of the UPA government’s response in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in his forthcoming book on Tuesday put the party in a spot of bother.

In his book 10 Flashpoints; 20 Years, Tewari observes that India should have acted strongly against Pakistan after the terror attacks as restraint against Islamabad is perceived as a symbol of weakness.

“For a state that has no compunctions in brutally slaughtering hundreds of innocent people, restraint is not a sign of strength; it is perceived as a symbol of weakness. There comes a time when actions must speak louder than words. 26/11 was one such time when it just should have been done. It, therefore, is my considered opinion that India should have actioned a kinetic response in the days following India’s 9/11,” he has written.

While the Congress officially refused to react, the party’s leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury hit out at Tewari, saying the book will “sell like hot cakes and the salesman will be the BJP”.

The BJP cited Tewari’s observations to target Congress. It alleged that the UPA government had put national security at stake by not responding strongly after the terror attacks. Addressing a press conference at the BJP headquarters, party spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia said, “The book confirms that the Congress-led UPA government was insensitive, useless and was not concerned about national security.”

“Congress president Sonia Gandhiji, Rahul Gandhiji, will you break your silence today?… Our Army was asking for permission from former Prime Minister Manmohan Singhji to teach Pakistan a lesson. But Sonia Gandhiji, why was the Army not given this permission?”

In-charge of BJP’s National Information and Technology Department Amit Malviya tweeted: “After Salman Khurshid, another Congress leader throws UPA under the bus to sell his book. Manish Tewari in his new book slams the UPA for weakness in the name of restraint post 26/11. Air Chief Marshal Fali Major is already on record saying IAF was ready to strike but UPA froze.”

When asked about the BJP’s reaction, Tewari told The Indian Express, “I am rather amused by the childish response of the BJP to one excerpt out of a 304-page book. I wonder if they would react similarly to some of the hard analysis that the book might have with regard to their handling of the national security remit.”

The Congress refused to join the controversy. “I have not read the book. Neither is it released. So I don’t think it is appropriate to comment beforehand. Let the book come out first…. Then we will see whether we need to discuss it or not,” Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said at an AICC press briefing. He said the BJP “wants us to deviate from” issues that “we are raising” but “we will not fall in that trap”.

Chowdhury said it would have been better had Tewari written a book on the Congress’s contribution in building a modern India.

“The terror attack happened in 2008. And in 2021, he is saying that the then government’s response was not adequate. But today, the challenge India is facing is from China. It is building infrastructure in Doklam, targeting Siliguri chicken’s neck, constructing a village in Arunachal and encroaching into our territory in Ladakh. I don’t know what Tewari’s views are on this,” he said.

“One thing I can say is that the book will sell like hotcakes and the salesman will be the BJP.”

Tewari, in his book, has also targeted the BJP government. For instance, he has criticised it for shelving plans of raising a mountain strike corps against China.

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