Following the Pulwama terror attack, India launched an all-out diplomatic effort to isolate Pakistan on global platforms. India also scrapped concessions it made to Pakistan in terms of trade, immediately revoking the Most Favoured Nation status and hiking excise duty on imports by 200 per cent.
At least 40 soldiers of the CRPF were killed when a Jaishe-e-Mohammad suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden vehicle in the bus ferrying jawans on the Jammu-Srinagar highway on Thursday. The bus was part of a convoy of 78 vehicles carrying over 2,500 paramilitary personnel to Kashmir from Jammu. Most of them were joining duty after coming back from leave.
Here are the steps that the government has taken so far in response to the attack.
Watch | 72 hours on, how India is responding to Pakistan
India apprises P5 nations of the attack, garners unanimous support
Hours after the suicide bomber attack, claimed by Pakistan based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), India held meetings with 25 countries including the P5 nations US, China, Russia, the UK and France briefing them on the attack and the role of Pakistan in using terrorism as a state policy. The meeting was headed by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, who met with the representatives of various countries demanding them to cease all support to Pakistan.
As reported by The Indian Express, sources in the Ministry of External Affairs said, “India highlighted the role played by Pakistan in using terrorism as an instrument of its state policy.” They also said that the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) will continue to take all steps to expose the complicity of Pakistan in the Pulwama terrorist attack and demand immediate and verifiable action against Jaish-e-Mohammed and its leader Masood Azhar.
While Russia, the UK, France and other countries condemned the attack, the United States took on Pakistan saying that the attack only strengthens the resolve to bolster counterterrorism cooperation and coordination between the US and India. The US also called on Pakistan “to end immediately the support and safe haven provided to all terrorist groups operating on its soil, whose only goal is to sow chaos, violence, and terror in the region.” Meanwhile, China which has been blocking India’s attempt of taking action against Azhar remained silent on Pakistan which is its closest ally in South Asia.
India revokes Pak’s MFN status, hikes customs duty on import by 200%
Hours after Arun Jaitley took charge of the Finance Ministry on Friday, the nation was vying for a strong response to Pakistan over the ghastly attack. A decision was taken in the meeting of CCS chaired by PM Modi to revoke the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status bestowed on Pakistan since 1996. Briefing the media after the CCS meeting, Jaitley expressed that the MEA will go all out to isolate Pakistan for executing the attack.
“The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) will initiate all possible diplomatic steps which are to be taken to ensure the complete isolation from the international community of Pakistan of which incontrovertible is available of having a direct hand in this act,” Jaitley said, adding that it will withdraw the MNF status granted to the neighbouring country in 1996. Despite minuscule trading figures between the two countries, trade relations grew over the years. In FY17, India-Pakistan trade was a mere $2.29 billion, or about 0.35% of India’s overall trade.
On Saturday, India went a step ahead in directly squeezing Pakistan’s exports to India by introducing a 200 per cent hike in customs duty on all goods. “India has withdrawn MFN status to Pakistan after the Pulwama incident. Upon withdrawal, basic customs duty on all goods exported from Pakistan to India has been raised to 200% with immediate effect,” Jaitley tweeted. The two main items imported from Pakistan are fruits and cement, on which the current customs duty is 30-50 per cent and 7.5 per cent, respectively. In April-November, India’s imports from Pakistan stood at about $381 million compared with $488.5 million in FY18 with fruit and nuts, gypsum, sulphur, mineral oils and cement as the major items of import.
Security of separatist leaders withdrawn
Amid a growing demand and public pressure calling for a withdrawal of security cover of Separatists leaders, the government on Sunday issued orders removing the security details of five such leaders in the valley. Besides the Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the security cover of Abdul Gani Bhat, Bilal Lone, Hashim Qureshi, Fazal Haq Qureshi and Shabir Shah has been withdrawn. While there was no categorisation of security for these leaders, the state government in consultation with the Centre had provided them ad hoc security, keeping in mind the threat to their lives from some militant groups.
Hurriyat spokesman termed the government’s order propaganda and said it has no bearing on the Kashmir dispute or the situation on the ground and it can in no way change the reality. “With or without these police personnel at the Hurriyat residence, everything remains the same,” the spokesman said in a statement.
Every drop of tear will be avenged, says PM Modi
As the nation mourned the death of CRPF jawans in the attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a series of meetings including the high-level Cabinet Committee on Security on Friday. The prime minister who paid tribute to the soldiers at Palam air base in New Delhi made it clear that the security forces have been given a “free hand in choosing the time, place and the structure of the response to be issued to the enemy.” Addressing an event in Delhi on Friday, PM Modi said that “They (militants) have done a big mistake and India doe not forget. They will have to pay a very heavy price for the actions.” In Maharashtra on Saturday, Modi said. “This is the time for mourning and to show restraint and sensitivity. I want to assure each family who lost their loved one that each drop of tear will be avenged (aasu ka pura pura jawab liya jayega).”
Opposition stands behind government, supports any counter action
Displaying a show of unity and a sense of restraint, the opposition led by Congress president Rahul Gandhi stood firmly behind government and supported its stand while unanimously condemning Pakistan and terrorism. Addressing the media in the wake of the attack, Rahul said, “This is a time of mourning, sadness, and respect. We are fully supporting the government of India and our security forces. We are not going to get into any other conversation apart from this.”
Former PM Manmohan Singh added, “Today is the day of mourning. Our country has lost close to 40 armed forces jawans and our foremost duty is to convey to their families that we are with them. We shall never compromise with the terrorist forces.”
Apart from Congress, Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Mamata Banerjee led TMC, Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP, Farooq Abdullah led National Conference, Shiv Sena all jointly condemned the attack and expressed their support to Centre. An all-party meeting was held on Saturday by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who briefed the political leaders on the attack and steps being taken by the government to expose Pakistan.
Jawans laid to rest with full state honours
With teary eyes, families, friends and the nation paid final tributes to the soldiers killed in the Pulwama attack. Soldiers from 16 states were among those killed in the February 14 attack on the Jammu-Srinagar highway. Thousands descended to the native places of the soldiers to be part of their final journey as support poured in from all across India for families and next of kins of the jawans. Meanwhile, state government have announced ex-gratia for families of CRPF jawans, including jobs for a member of the family. The most number of casualties in the attack was from Uttar Pradesh which lost 12 soldiers. The government has also urged the citizens to contribute through Bharat Ke Veer, an initiative by the Ministry of Home Affairs which provides for families of security forces who made the supreme sacrifice.