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2-min read

Nabbing Dawood Ibrahim Just a Matter of Time: Rajnath Singh

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said India cannot rule out more surgical strikes in Pakistan-controlled territory, delivering an uncharacteristically strong warning to Islamabad four months after Indian commandos carried out widespread and deep cross-border raids in response to a terrorist attack on a military base in Kashmir last September.

Arunima | CNN-News18Arunima24

Updated:February 3, 2017, 5:18 PM IST
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New Delhi: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said India cannot rule out more surgical strikes in Pakistan-controlled territory, delivering an uncharacteristically strong warning to Islamabad four months after Indian commandos carried out widespread and deep cross-border raids in response to a terrorist attack on a military base in Kashmir last September.

“Pakistan is our neighbour. If it changes for good, we may not need such a step again. But if terror organisations or others target India, we can’t guarantee that surgical strike will not be repeated,” Singh told Network18 Editor-in-Chief Rahul Joshi in a rare exclusive interview, his first to any media outlet since the surgical strikes.

Also Read: India Can Go For More Surgical Strikes. Here's why?

Singh, effectively the No.2 in the government, also said the recent “house arrest” of Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed was an eyewash, and that if Islamabad is really serious about tackling terror, it should pursue legal options, charge him and put him behind bars.

He also said nabbing fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, who is said to be hiding in Pakistan, was just a matter of time.

“I am confident that we will succeed in getting him back. It is just a matter of time,” the home minister said,

While Singh took a hardline towards Pakistan, he was more measured when it came to China. He refused to criticize it for repeatedly blocking the designation of another of India’s most wanted – Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar – as a terrorist at the United Nations.

“Maybe China did not support us because of their own internal deliberations. But am hopeful they will support us in future,” he said.

Interestingly, the home minister also refused to criticize the US decision to put a blanket ban on travelers from seven Islamic nations entering America, a decision that has triggered widespread opprobrium for President Donald Trump. Singh gave Trump a wide berth, saying he must have taken such a decision after “assessing local terror situation”.

Talking about his home state Uttar Pradesh that is holding assembly elections in two weeks time, Singh expressed faith that BJP will win over 250 of the 403 seats.

He said the BSP and the SP-Congress alliance should decide who is the main opposition to BJP, and observed who the real opposition would varies from region to region.

Singh, a former CM of the state, ruled himself out of the race to become the UP chief minister. “I am already the home minister, it would be injustice if others are not given a chance,” he said, noting that going ahead with the poll campaign without declaring a CM candidate would not affect his party’s chances.

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