In an exclusive interview to News Nation, Former National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon spoke at length on various issues including 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai, US President-elect Donald Trump, surgical strikes, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s statement on nuclear doctrines, terror funding and demonetisation.
On the issue of demonetisation, Menon said "terrorists will copy this currency too and will use genuine currency if they can't fake. Demonetisation won't stop cross-border terror. There is no connection."
On being asked about why India didn’t attack Pakistan after 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai, Menon said "in the past when there has been an attack, world says that we should maintain ceasefire and sort it out. Pakistan had attacked us in the past. We wanted world to know that. People who attacked us wanted us to use force. Pakistan army post Kargil war was weak and wanted an Indian attack so the country would unite behind them. Government wanted to improve relations with us but army and terror groups didn't. Decision of not attacking Pakistan was the right decision in hindsight. Pakistan took action but we didn’t get what we wanted. Terrorists are still at large."
When asked on Donald Trump’s chances of declaring Pakistan a terror state, former NSA said "Trump was a lot of rhetoric. What politicians say before and after winning an election is very different. On being asked whether US policy to Pakistan will change, Menon said that they can do it but they haven’t done it so far. Trump said many things but he said those things before becoming President."
On the question of whether US knew about 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai, Menon said "there is suspicion that they knew more. Headley was working for government. His wife reported that he is a terrorist and was dealing with Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed."
Menon also said "surgical strikes and military forces have its limits. Surgical strikes also took place in the past but we didn’t publicise it. It was quiet. If we go public with surgical strikes, it will not serve the purpose. But, it will only buy us temporary peace. If we go public then we will have to escalate it in the future. Terrorists have incentive to strike further if we go public with surgical strikes."
Talking on the statement of Manohar Parrikar over nuclear doctrine, Menon mentioned "if a Defence Minister gives his personal view it confuses the issue. Nuclear doctrine needs to be reviewed. In the past we have reviewed and decided on “no first use.” We should not confuse the issue. Prime Minister and Defence Minister speak for the government. As they represent government at highest level, they should not confuse."
(Based on the conversation between News Nation Executive Editor Meetu Jain and Former National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon)