Asia - Pacific

Condemnations pour in against Kashmir bombing

US, Russia, others join India in condemning attack by militant outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad

15.02.2019
Condemnations pour in against Kashmir bombing

By Riyaz ul Khaliq

ANKARA

Worldwide condemnations of Thursday's attack on Indian paramilitaries -- the worst in some three decades -- in disputed Jammu and Kashmir have poured in since news of the attack made headlines.

The U.S., Russia, and many other countries joined India on Friday in condemning the killing of dozens of Indian troopers in a suicide car bombing claimed by the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militant outfit.

India vowed a "heavy price" for those behind the attack, while Pakistan expressed "grave concern" over the bombing and rejected "any insinuation by elements in the Indian media and government seeking to link the attack to Pakistan without investigation," according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

Condemning the attack, the Turkish government also expressed concern over the recent increase in tension and casualties in the region.

“We have received the news with sorrow that a terrorist attack targeting a convoy of security forces in Jammu Kashmir resulted in many losses of lives and left many wounded today,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric condemned the JeM group, expressing his "deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and to the Government and people of India."

On the push to list Masood Azhar, chief of the militant group, as a "global terrorist," Dujarric said the issue was "in the hands of the [UN] Security Council."

The U.S. also slammed the attack, urging Pakistan to immediately cease providing support and safe haven to all "terror" groups.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the U.S. and India would strengthen coordination in the wake of the bombing.

Washington officially labeled the JeM as a terrorist organization nearly a decade ago, pushing in 2017 to have the UN Security Council designate Azhar as a terrorist, before the move was blocked by China.

Russia, Saudi Arabia, France

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the perpetrators behind the act should be "duly punished" and expressed Moscow’s "condolences in connection with the loss of Indian law enforcement officers in the terrorist act in the state of Jammu and Kashmir."

Separately, Saudi Arabia said that it stood with India’s "fight against extremism" and denounced the "cowardly" suicide attack.

The UAE Foreign Ministry expressed the country’s condemnations as well as its "principled and unequivocal position rejecting all forms of violence."

In addition, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian extended Paris’s support, adding that it will stand "by India’s side in the fight against extremism in all its forms."

"I call on each state to take effective measures to combat the terrorist networks and their funding channels and to prevent the cross-border movement of terrorist groups such as Jaish-e-Muhammad, which has claimed responsibility for this attack," said Le Drian.

In a Foreign Ministry statement, nearby Nepal also condemned the attack, saying "such heinous acts of terrorism cannot be justified on any grounds.”

Nepali Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli called his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to convey his "heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims."

China

One noteworthy country not directly condemning the JeM was China, which continued its policy against identifying its leader Azhar as a terrorist.

While condemning "all forms of terrorism," China’s Foreign Ministry reiterated its stance blocking any UN move to designate Azhar as a terrorist.

"We hope relevant regional countries will cooperate to cope with the threat of terrorism and jointly uphold regional peace and stability," the Press Trust of India quoted spokesperson Geng Shuang as saying.

He added that Beijing would continue to "handle" the issue in a "constructive and responsible manner."

Attack

At least 45 Indian paramilitary troopers were killed, and dozens of others injured, when an explosive-laden vehicle rammed into a paramilitary bus in Awantipora, a town along the highway connecting the state capital Srinagar to Anantnag, a southern district.

The JeM claimed responsibility for the attack, reports said. One Kashmiri militant, identified as Adil Ahmad of Pulwama district where the incident happened, who is said to have drove the explosive-laden vehicle, also died in the attack.

Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.

Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

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