07 May, 2021

How Para­meters In India-Pakistan Relations Changed After 26/11 Attack

A running sore between India and Pakistan, 26/11 is a reference point for both terror and talks

Photograph by PTI
How Para­meters In India-Pakistan Relations Changed After 26/11 Attack

For a country that has been dealing with the scourge of terrorism for decades—much of it emanating from its unremittingly hostile western neighbour—the ann­iversary of a tragedy dredges up difficult memories. The 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai has become a wat­ershed in India-Pakistan relations, a certain low that has shaped the way policy planners in New Delhi look at its old adversary. But importantly, it has recast the attitude of Indians towards Pakistan.

“26/11 is a constant reminder of the threat of terrorism that we face from Pakistan,” says former Indian foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal. Most South Block mandarins would agree, though they point out how, despite such a ruthless assault on mainland India that claimed 166 lives, India had explored different possibilities to engage with Pakistan.

Though bilateral ties were frozen in the immediate aftermath of 26/11, attempts were made in subsequent years by different Indian regimes to res­tart talks with Islamabad. Most prominent of these was Narendra Modi’s invitation to...

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