As condemnation of the terror attack on a CRPF convoy poured in from all quarters, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday promised that the “sacrifices of our brave security personnel shall not go in vain” while Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who named Pakistan, said a “strong reply” will be given.
The Prime Minister, who spoke to Rajnath Singh and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, will chair a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security at 9.15 am Friday. It is expected to take a call on the next course of action, look at options — diplomatic or military — for a response. The meeting will be attended by Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the NSA and other officials.
LIVE UPDATES: At least 37 CRPF men killed in Pulwama attack
In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said: “The Government of India is firmly and resolutely committed to take all necessary measures to safeguard national security. We are equally resolved to fight against the menace of terrorism. 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.”
Condemning the “cowardly” attack, it said: “This heinous and despicable act has been perpetrated by Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-based and supported terrorist organisation proscribed by the United Nations and other countries. This terror group is led by the international terrorist Masood Azhar, who has been given full freedom by Government of Pakistan to operate and expand his terror infrastructure in territories under the control of Pakistan and to carry out attacks in India and elsewhere with impunity.”
“We strongly reiterate our appeal to all members of the international community to support the proposal to list terrorists, including JeM Chief Masood Azhar, as a designated terrorist under the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council and to ban terrorist organisations operating from territories controlled by Pakistan,” the MEA said — this was a reference to China blocking the listing of the Jaish-e-Mohammed.
Tension is expected to escalate next week with the hearing on former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav’s fate — he is on the death row in Pakistan — to be decided at the International Court of Justice at The Hague between February 18 and 21. The terror attack could also cast a shadow on the meeting next month between officials of the two countries on the Kartarpur corridor.
Late Thursday night, Pakistan, in a statement, said the attack was “a matter of grave concern” and “we have always condemned acts of violence anywhere in the world”. It said, “we strongly reject any insinuation by elements in the Indian media and government that seek to link the attack to Pakistan without investigations.” Condemnations came in from the US, UK, UN, France, Russia, Israel, Canada, Germany, Australia, Thailand, Turkey and, among the neighbours, Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.
Earlier, the PM, in a Twitter post, said: “Attack on CRPF personnel in Pulwama is despicable. I strongly condemn this dastardly attack. The sacrifices of our brave security personnel shall not go in vain. The entire nation stands shoulder to shoulder with the families of the brave martyrs. May the injured recover quickly.”
Attack on CRPF personnel in Pulwama is despicable. I strongly condemn this dastardly attack. The sacrifices of our brave security personnel shall not go in vain. The entire nation stands shoulder to shoulder with the families of the brave martyrs. May the injured recover quickly.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 14, 2019
President Ram Nath Kovind too tweeted: “Strongly condemn the terrorist attack in Pulwama, J&K. Thoughts and prayers with the families of martyrs and wishing an early recovery to those injured. The entire nation stands united in the fight against the forces of terror and evil.”
Rajnath Singh said the attack was carried out by Pakistan backed Jaish-e-Mohammad. “I assure the country a strong reply will be given. The nation pays tribute to the brave jawans who were martyred.”
BJP president Amit Shah said Indian forces will defeat the terrorists. “It is an act of cowardice. My deepest condolences are with the families of our soldiers who have lost their lives. Our forces will remain firm against such acts of terror and defeat them.”
Describing the attack as one of “cowardice”, Union Minister Arun Jaitley said: “Nation salutes martyred soldiers and we all stand united with families of martyrs… Terrorists will be given an unforgettable lesson for their heinous act.”