The February 14 terror attack, in which 40 soldiers were killed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama, was a gift to the Bharatiya Janata Party before the Lok Sabha elections, former Research and Analysis Wing Chief AS Dulat said on Saturday.

“I have said this earlier also, and I am saying this now, the Pulwama terror attack was a gift by Jaish-e-Mohammed to [Narendra] Modi,” Dulat said on the sidelines of Asian Arab Awards 2019 organised by the Indian Economic Trade Organisation in Hyderabad. “As elections were due, it was expected that there would be a retaliation. It was inevitable that something would happen. The surgical strike deep in Pakistan was alright.”

Dulat said that nationalism should be looked at in a broader perspective. “The larger point I am making is that what is sufficient is patriotism,” he said, according to PTI. “We need not stress on nationalism. Because, the indications worldwide are, in the past also, that nationalism can lead to war.”

Dulat said he favoured talks with Kashmiris as well as Pakistan. “We need to talk,” he said. “We need to talk to the Kashmiris. We need to talk ultimately to Pakistan also. There is no other way.”

Dulat recalled that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was about to sign a peace agreement with Pakistan. “If that agreement had been reached and that agreement actually was an agreement on the Line of Control, then I think we would have had about 15 years of peace in Kashmir,” he added.