India has warned that it will seek the “complete isolation” of Pakistan in the wake of a deadly car bombing by pro-Pakistan separatists in the disputed Kashmir province.
A bus carrying Indian Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel was rammed by an explosive-laden car yesterday afternoon near Pulwama, killing at least 46 paramilitary troops. Responsibility for the attack was quickly claimed by Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), which seeks to reclaim Kashmir from India.
The Indian government claims to have “incontrovertible evidence” of collusion between the attackers and Pakistani authorities, although this has yet to be produced, reports the BBC.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
Tensions have been high in the region for decades, with multiple armed conflicts and insurgencies, but this week’s attack appears to have pushed India over the edge. Prime Minister Narendra Modi today promised a “strong response” to Pakistan’s alleged direct involvement in the attack.
“Those who committed this heinous act will pay a heavy price. Those who supported it will definitely be punished,” Modi said. “If our neighbour thinks it can destabilise India then it is making a big mistake.”
India’s Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley echoed that warning in a tweet.
Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale has summoned Pakistan’s envoy, Sohail Mahmood, and served a diplomatic notice demanding that Islamabad take action against JeM, which has been banned in Pakistan since 2002.
Meanwhile, Jaitely told reporters that India will remove “most-favoured-nation privileges given to Pakistan under World Trade Organization rules”, reports Al Jazeera.
But Sreeram Chaulia, professor of international relations at India’s Jindal School of International Affairs, told the news site that revoking trade privileges will not “hurt much”, as “Pakistan exports less than $1bn worth of products to India because of strained relations”.
Indian news network NDTV reports that a government delegation “has started meeting envoys of the United Nation P5”, the five permanent member nations of the UN Security Council, “to brief them about Pakistan’s role in sponsoring terror”.
In a statement issued today, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the attack a matter of “grave concern”, but added: “We strongly reject any insinuation by elements in the Indian government and media circles that seek to link the attack to the State of Pakistan without investigations.”
Create an account with the same email registered to your subscription to unlock access.