An armed policeman stands guard outside Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi. File photo/Reuters
India on Saturday summoned a senior Pakistani diplomat over what New Delhi said was a foiled attack this week in the frontier territory of Jammu and Kashmir by a Pakistan-based militant group, a charge the neighbouring country denied.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that the killing of four Jaish-e-Mohammed militants in a gun battle with security forces, and the recovery of a large cache of weapons and explosives from them, indicated that they were planning to “wreak major havoc and destruction” in the region ahead of local elections there.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs said a protest was lodged with Pakistan’s charge d’affaires in New Delhi.
“India reiterated its longstanding demand that Pakistan fulfil its international obligations and bilateral commitments to not allow any territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India in any manner,” the ministry said in a statement.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected Modi’s allegations as groundless.
“We view these as part of India’s desperate attempts to divert international attention from its state-terrorism in (Indian-ruled Kashmir) and state-sponsorship of terrorism against Pakistan,” the ministry said late on Friday following Modi’s comments on Twitter.
Tension between the nuclear-armed rivals has sharpened since last August, when Modi’s government ended the autonomy of its only Muslim-majority region. Kashmir is also claimed by Pakistan.
Earlier this month, Pakistan said it had compiled a dossier with evidence that militancy inside its borders was being sponsored by India to target Chinese investments, and that these operations were being run out of neighbouring Afghanistan.
India termed the accusations as “figments of imagination.”
India will hold district-level elections this month in Jammu and Kashmir, the first such exercise there since the federal government took away the area’s statehood more than a year ago.
Pakistani airspace on its eastern border with India will remain closed until June 14, a civil aviation official said on Wednesday, the latest extension months after a standoff between the arch rivals.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday wrote a letter to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi offering dialogue to reconcilable problems.
"While 54 detained individuals are being investigated, no details linking them to Pulwama have been found so far," the Pakistan's foreign office said,
The financial crunch worsened after Washington froze about $10 billion of the country's reserves and deteriorated further after the World Bank and International Monetary Fund halted Afghanistan's access to funding.
They blamed the attack on the CODECO militia, which has killed hundreds of civilians in Congo's Ituri province and forced thousands to flee their homes in the last few years.
The four children, who were all under the age of 12, were declared dead at the scene in the small town of Lancaster, near Los Angeles. The children's grandmother, who was in her 50s, also died in the shooting on Sunday evening.