Kashmir terror attack: Indian PM warns of strong action

1 / 2
An activist of the youth wing of India's main opposition Congress party shouts slogans during a protest against the attack on a bus that killed 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in south Kashmir on Thursday, in New Delhi, India, February 15, 2019. (REUTERS)
2 / 2
Activists of the youth wing of India's main opposition Congress party shout slogans during a protest against the attack on a bus that killed 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in south Kashmir on Thursday, in New Delhi, India, February 15, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 16 February 2019
0

Kashmir terror attack: Indian PM warns of strong action

  • Modi blames Pakistan for the deaths of 42 soldiers; Islamabad rejects allegations

NEW DELHI: India’s government on Friday held a high-level security meeting where it blamed Pakistan for the terror attacks in Indian-administered Kashmir that claimed the lives of 42 troops from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on Thursday.
“Those who did the heinous act will have to pay a heavy price. Those who supported it will definitely be punished,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said after the meeting.
The Cabinet Committee on Security also decided to withdraw the Most Favored Nation status (MFN) accorded to Pakistan for the “support given to the Jaish-e-Mohammad,” a terror group that has claimed responsibility for the incident. The attack took place in the Lethpora village — along a highway in the Pulwama district of South Kashmir — when a suspected suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into a bus carrying paramilitary troopers.
Condemning Pakistan for the incident, Modi said that “our neighboring country thinks such terror attacks can weaken us, but their plans will not materialize. The security forces have been given complete freedom, the blood of the people is boiling.”
The main opposition Congress Party also held a press conference where former prime minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, and the party’s president, Rahul Gandhi, took turns to address the gathering. “The entire Congress party and most of the opposition stands by the security forces and the government in this difficult time. We are not going to get into any other conversation,” Gandhi said.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry released a statement blaming Pakistan “for supporting terror groups.”
“We demand that Pakistan stop supporting terrorists and terror groups operating from their territory and dismantle the infrastructure operated by terrorist outfits to launch attacks in other countries,” the Foreign Ministry Affairs said.
Islamabad has rejected the allegations. “We have always condemned acts of violence anywhere in the world. We strongly reject any insinuation by elements in the Indian media and government that seek to link the attack to Pakistan without investigations,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Local security experts in Kashmir, however, said that such a suicide attack “marks a new normal in militancy in Kashmir.”
“Since 2014, the dialogue process has reached a dead-end from all sides. An atmosphere of fear has been unleashed in the Valley and that is the problem,” Gul Mohammed Wani, a professor at the University of Kashmir, said.
“Media reports say that the suicide bomber was from Pulwama only, a local boy. This points to desperation and a level of disconnect that Kashmiri youth have now. It is a new kind of militancy which is a matter of concern,” he said.
Meanwhile, a Srinagar-based political analyst and thinker, Prof. Siddiq Wahid, questioned “how long will both sides continue to mourn? It is senseless when you consider that it is the result of an arrogant power center refusing to talk, to engage in a dialogue. What does it take to accept that listening to the aspirations of people is a civilized norm?”
“The absence … and the rejection of dialogue has politically radicalized Kashmir. Not just among its youth but generally, too,” he told Arab News. “To blame Pakistan for it is to abdicate responsibility to understand, politically and socially, what a state is, and to look at India’s problems purely through the lens of some sort of strange and ironic victimhood for its population of more than a billion.”
Manoj Joshi of a New Delhi-based think tank, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), said that “this is the larger failure of the government because, for the last four years, the government has launched an operation all out to finish off militancy.”
“This is the most serious attack since the militancy started in the 1990s. Obviously, there is something wrong with the policy because the previous policy has managed to bring down the casualty and violence. But the violence has been going up for the last few years; it is a clear sign the policy of the present regime has failed,” he said, adding that an “all military strategy is the extension of political strategy and you have to have a political strategy before you think of having an effective military strategy.”
He criticized the government for creating a war hysteria, saying that “it’s easy to start the war but it’s difficult to predict what would be the outcome.” He, however, said that Pakistan cannot escape the responsibility. “If it’s serious about combatting terror it should hand over the Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar to India,” he said.


Mike Pompeo urges Moscow to cease ‘unconstructive behavior’ in Venezuela

Updated 5 min 21 sec ago
0

Mike Pompeo urges Moscow to cease ‘unconstructive behavior’ in Venezuela

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Russia to “cease its unconstructive behavior” by supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during a phone call with his Russian counterpart, the State Department said on Monday.
Spokesman Robert Palladino said Pompeo had spoken to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about Venezuela on Monday.
“The secretary told Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov that the United States and regional countries will not stand idly by as Russia exacerbates tensions in Venezuela,” Palladino said in a statement that also condemned Russian military support for the “illegitimate regime of Nicolas Maduro.”