India Withdraws Most Favoured Nation Status From Pak, Says Will Ensure Its Isolation After Pulwama Attack
Finance minister Arun Jaitley said the Ministry of External Affairs will launch an all-out effort to isolate Pakistan and all diplomatic efforts will be launched in this regard.
New Delhi: India on Friday withdrew the 'Most-Favoured Nation' status to Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF jawans.
In a media briefing after the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security(CCS), Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Pakistan will have to pay a heavy price for the attack and all efforts will be made to ensure that perpetrators are brought to book. “The forces behind this act of terrorism & those responsible for it, will be definitely be punished,” he said.
Briefing reporters outside the Prime Minister's residence, finance minister Arun Jaitley said the Ministry of External Affairs will launch an all-out effort to isolate Pakistan and all diplomatic efforts will be launched in this regard.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh will visit Srinagar on Friday and would convene an all-party meeting most likely on Saturday to brief political parties on the incident so that the nation speaks in one voice on the issue.
The Prime Minister also said that the security forces have been given a free hand to retaliate amid calls for another surgical strike across the Line of Control as the death toll is almost double that of the Uri attack, which had prompted the government to order strikes at the terror camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir in 2016.
Another non-military option on the table is to scrap the planned corridor to allow Indian pilgrims to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan’s Punjab, one of the biggest diplomatic outreaches by the NDA government.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were present at the meeting. Top security officials are learnt to have made a presentation on the incident and the overall security situation in the state.
At least 37 CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on Thursday in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.
A 12-member team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) will reach the blast site to assist the Jammu and Kashmir Police in forensic evaluation of the spot. An IG rank officer of the NIA will lead the team, they added.
Former Northern Army Commander General DS Hooda, who led the surgical strike in 2016, said Thursday's terror attack is much bigger than the Uri Brigade headquarters attack.
"No terror organisation claimed responsibility for the Uri attack. Now, however, a Pakistan based terror organisation – the Jaish-eMohammed (JeM) – has taken responsibility for this attack. Pakistan will be under pressure, but my hunch is that New Delhi will have to act and retaliate. What will be the form and shape of the retaliation will be the prerogative of the government," he said.
While Ministry of External Affairs slammed Pakistani government for giving "full freedom" to Jaish-e-Mohammed and its chief Masood Azhar to "operate and expand his terror infrastructure in territories", the neighbouring country rejected government's allegations and said that it has "always condemned acts of violence" anywhere.
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