|NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday recommended "hot pursuit" as a strategy to deal with terrorism, signalling that the security forces should chase the terrorists to their camps (in Pakistan).
Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said the BJP was in favour of "hot pursuit" of the terrorists, echoing the words used by the Leader of the Opposition, L.K. Advani, when he was Home Minister in the Vajpayee Government. After the statement came in for criticism, he said although the "option" was open and had international sanction, India would not exercise it now.
The party seems to have come around to the view that the time had come to follow the "hot pursuit" strategy.
Mr. Javadekar made this remark in the context of the Mumbai blasts and the terrorist-related incidents in Kashmir.
Mr. Javadekar was critical of the remarks made by Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri, that the blasts were linked to the non-resolution of the Kashmir dispute.
The spokesperson was asked how the BJP could talk about "hot pursuit" when its Government chose not to exercise that option during the Kargil war and also when the Government handed over several key terrorists, including Masood Azhar, to the Taliban during the hijack of an Indian Airlines airplane. Mr. Javadekar said during the hijack, the Vajpayee Government freed the terrorists to save the lives of some 140 passengers. In Kargil, a victory was won even without "hot pursuit."
Mr. Javadekar's remarks are being seen as a signal that the BJP is returning to a hard stance against Pakistan, reminiscent of its attitude during the Jan Sangh days.
The remarks are also being seen in the context of the increasing clout of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the "mother" organisation of the Sangh Parivar, over the BJP leadership.