Updated: July 9, 2021 7:08:17 am
Four days after Pakistan made serious allegations against India, terming the June 23 bomb blast near the home of Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed as “India-sponsored terrorism”, New Delhi broke its silence on Thursday — the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) rejected Islamabad’s accusation as “baseless propaganda”.
The international community knows Pakistan’s record on terrorism, spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at the weekly media briefing.
“It is not new for Pakistan to engage in baseless propaganda against India. Pakistan would do well to expend the same effort in setting its own house in order and taking credible and verifiable action against terrorism emanating from its soil and terrorists who have found safe sanctuaries there,” he said.
“The international community is well aware of Pakistan’s credentials when it comes to terrorism. This is acknowledged by none other than its own leadership, which continues to glorify terrorists like Osama bin Laden as ‘martyrs’,” Bagchi said.
India’s strong rejection of Pakistan’s claims notwithstanding, the four-day delay in responding to the allegations is unusual. India normally reacts to provocative Pakistani statements within a day.
Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf had told reporters in Islamabad on Sunday that the mastermind of the attack that killed three people and injured 24, “is an Indian citizen and he is associated with R&AW (Research and Analysis Wing)”.
On Twitter, Prime Minister Imran Khan had alleged that the “planning & financing of this heinous terror attack has links to Indian sponsorship of terrorism against Pakistan”, and asked the “global community” to “mobilise international institutions against this rogue behaviour”.
There had been no official response from the MEA then, even though sources had told The Indian Express that the Pakistani allegations were “baseless” and “false”.
Pakistan’s accusations have come at a time when the two sides are engaged in back-channel conversations to bring the bilateral relationship back on track.
These talks have been ongoing for the past few months, with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval leading the Indian initiative with Pakistan’s civilian-military leadership.
Doval is learnt to have met Yusuf and ISI chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed in a third country; he has also kept communication channels open with Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
In February, the two sides had agreed to adhere to the ceasefire pact along the border and LoC; that has now held for just over four months.
On June 23-24, Doval and Yusuf were in Dushanbe for a meeting of NSAs of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
On the night of June 26, hours before two drones dropped explosives on the IAF base in Jammu, a drone was spotted above the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.
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