As leaders paid tributes to the martyrs of the Mumbai terror strike on its 12th anniversary, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said another attack like 26/11 on Indian soil is now "almost impossible" as the national security architecture has been significantly bolstered in the last few years.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar for his part said India will keep the global spotlight "firmly" on cross-border terrorism and on the epicentre of the global menace, in an apparent reference to Pakistan.
Pakistan has placed 19 members of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in a list of the "Most Wanted Terrorists" for their role in the carnage, but it has not initiated any serious efforts to nab them and also punish seven others who are facing trial.
The US said it stands with India and remains resolute in the fight against terrorism, and is committed to hold the perpetrators accountable to ensure justice for the victims.
Veteran industrialist Ratan Tata, who headed the Tata group whose iconic hotel in Mumbai was one of the sites of the attack, also penned a heartfelt tribute, saying the wanton destruction will never be forgotten. Tata posted his tributes in a social media post..
In his valedictory address at the 80th All India Presiding Officers'' Conference in Kevadia in Gujarat, Prime Minister Modi remembered the 26/11 martyrs.
"India cannot forget the wounds of the Mumbai terror attack", he said.
"India is now fighting terrorism with a new policy and a new process.”
"Today’s date is associated with the biggest terror attack on the country. On this date in 2008, terrorists sent from Pakistan had attacked Mumbai,” Modi said in his address via video-conference.
"Many people died in that terror attack, and people of many nationalities were the victims. I pay my homage to all. I bow down to the security personnel who lost their lives in the attack.”
He also lauded India''s security forces fighting terrorism by foiling terror plans.
"I bow down to our security establishment involved in foiling big terror strikes like the 26/11 Mumbai attack. They are giving a befitting reply to terror and are involved in securing our borders," he said.
Referring to the 26/11 attack, Rajnath Singh said India is no more a soft target for terrorism due to variety of measures in the last few years, and added that Pakistan has been exposed as a "nursery of terrorism" following diplomatic outreach by New Delhi.
"We can assure all the countrymen that now India has strengthened its internal and external security cycle so much that it is now almost impossible to execute another 26/11 attack on Indian soil," Singh said in his address at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.
Minister Jaishankar applauded the courage of India''s security forces for continuing to defend the country "so resolutely".
"Will keep the global spotlight firmly on the menace of cross-border terrorism against India. And on the epicentre of global terrorism," he said in a tweet.
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Union Home Minister Amit Shah also paid tributes to all those who lost their lives in the carnage.
On November 26, 2008, 10 Pakistani terrorists belonging to the LeT arrived by sea route and opened fire, killing 166 people, including 18 security personnel, and injuring over 300 during the 60-hour siege in Mumbai.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Mahal Hotel, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital and the Nariman House Jewish community centre, now renamed Nariman Light House, were some of the places targeted by terrorists.
Nine terrorists were later killed by the security forces, including the National Security Guard, the country''s elite commando force.
Ajmal Kasab was the only terrorist who was captured alive. He was hanged four years later on November 21, 2012.
Asserting that the US stands with India and remains resolute in the fight against terrorism, an American official said it is committed to hold the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack accountable to ensure justice for the victims.
"Through the Rewards for Justice programme, we seek to ensure that all those responsible for this heinous attack face justice,” US State Department deputy spokesman Cale Brown said in Washington on Wednesday.
"On the 12th anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai attack, the US reaffirms its commitment to holding the perpetrators accountable and ensuring justice for the victims, including six Americans. Standing alongside our Indian partners, we remain resolute in the fight against terrorism,” Brown said.
In his social media post, Ratan Tata, who headed the Tata group at the time of the attack, wrote, "The wanton destruction that took place 12 years ago today will never be forgotten."
"But, what is more memorable, is the way Mumbai as a diverse people came together, casting aside all differences, to vanquish the terrorism and destruction on that day," wrote Tata, who is now chairman emeritus of Tata Sons — the holding company of the salt-to-software group.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi expressed condolences to the families that lost their loved ones in that "terrible incident of hate and violence".
India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal said Pakistan must bring the perpetrators of the 26/11 attack to justice, emphasising that combating terrorism requires strong global cooperation as he, along with top Israeli diplomats, paid homage to the victims
He was addressing a virtual commemoration event in New York on Wednesday.
At the event organised by The American India Public Affairs Committee and American Jewish Committee, Israel Nitzan, Acting Consul General of Israel in New York, said his country, India and the US have an “extraordinary cooperation” in counterterrorism and fighting hate and radicalism.
India''s Deputy Consul General Shatrughna Sinha said 12 years after the strike, “the perpetrators of this ghastly attack are still roaming free”.
Speaking at the Maharashtra Police headquarters in Mumbai after paying floral tributes to the martyrs, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said the police force needs to be so strong that terrorists do not dare to attack the state or its capital city.
Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray also paid respects to the martyrs at the newly-built memorial at the police headquarters in south Mumbai.
Wives of some of the personnel killed in the 26/11 attack inaugurated the martyrs'' gallery at the state police headquarters. PTI PD JTR MPB LKJ MZ RKL ANZ DC ACB ENM YAS GSN GSN GSN
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI