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.
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.
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.