FILE - Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar delivers a press statement in New Delhi, India, Feb. 27, 2019.
FILE - Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar delivers a press statement in New Delhi, India, Feb. 27, 2019.

NEW DELHI - Days after India and Pakistan stepped back from a recent dangerous confrontation, New Delhi renewed calls on Islamabad to take concrete steps against militant groups - even as New Delhi expressed skepticism about a crackdown in Pakistan against such groups.
 
Pakistan said this week it had detained dozens of members of banned organizations, including two close relatives of the leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammad group, which India blamed for a deadly bombing in Indian Kashmir last month. Authorities said a number of religious seminaries and educational institutions run by outlawed Islamist groups also have been taken under government control as part of a nationwide counterterrorism effort.
 
The action apparently did not satisfy India, which accuses Pakistan of sheltering and harboring Islamic militant groups that stage attacks in India. Islamabad denies it.
 
At a press conference on Saturday, an Indian foreign ministry spokesman said Pakistan has not shown any “serious intent” to address the legitimate concerns of India and the global community.

A Pakistani police officer stands guard with a worker of a religious group at the entrance to a mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 6, 2019.
Pakistan Seizes 400 Facilities Run by Banned Extremist Groups
Authorities in Pakistan said Thursday that a nationwide counter-extremism effort has brought under government control 216 religious seminaries and educational institutions run by outlawed Islamist groups.The federal interior ministry said in a statement provincial governments have also seized control of 176 mostly health-related welfare facilities, and scores of ambulances run by banned entities.It said the operation is an ongoing effort to eradicate religious extremism, saying Pakistani "law…

According to Raveesh Kumar, “we are seeing the same script that has been played out earlier” following previous terror attacks in India. “Pakistan claims to proscribe groups and individuals, but this is only on paper. Actually, terrorist groups and individuals continue their activities without hindrance.”
 
India has been pressing Pakistan to take action against Masood Azhar, who heads the Jaish-e-Mohammad group that claimed responsibility for the Feb. 14 suicide attack in Indian Kashmir that killed 40 paramilitaries and sparked military hostilities between the two countries.
 
Days after that attack, India conducted airstrikes inside Pakistan to target what it said was a militant camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammad. Pakistan retaliated with airstrikes, saying it was responding to a violation of its air space. Both countries then pulled away from a confrontation many feared could spark a war after the United States and its allies helped defuse increasing tensions.

Pakistani Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi (R) and Pakistan's Interior Secretary Azam Suleman Khan give a press conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 5, 2019.
Pakistan Begins Crackdown on Militant Groups Amid Global Pressure
Pakistan said on Tuesday it had begun a crackdown on Islamist militant groups, detaining 44 members of banned organizations including close relatives of the leader of a group blamed for a deadly bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir last month. The interior ministry said it was a move to "speed up action against all proscribed organizations." Officials said it was part of a long-planned drive against militant groups, not a response to Indian anger over what New Delhi calls Islamabad's failure to rein…

Officials with the Indian foreign ministry said, “We will continue to act with responsibility and maturity,” but they added that “our armed forces continue to maintain strict vigil and will remain determined in the defense of the nation and its citizens."
 
Analysts say India wants to maintain the increased global pressure on Pakistan to act against Islamic militant groups. Referring to the Indian airstrikes inside Pakistan — the deepest inside Pakistan in nearly 50 years - a former senior intelligence official and security expert, Jayadeva Ranade, said, “It’s a step that has been taken after deep deliberation and they will want results.”
 
In a signal that hostilities between the two countries have cooled somewhat, the High Commissioners of both countries, who had been recalled amid last month’s Kashmir attack, were set to return to their posts.
 
 

 

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