A day after Pakistan launched a crackdown on terrorist groups and detained two close relatives of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar, India on Tuesday made it clear that it wanted to see concrete steps from Islamabad to wind up terrorist infrastructure.
India will keep “all options" open in case of another terrorist attack, said one person familiar with the developments—a possible allusion to New Delhi not limiting itself to striking terrorist training camps across the Line of Control. The tough stand was taken on a day when Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lamba warned that terrorists were being trained to carry out attacks from the sea.
Pakistan has taken into “preventive custody" two relatives of Masood Azhar, said a Reuters report from Islamabad. “The interior minister just announced that 44 people linked to several militant groups have been taken into preventive custody. They include two close relatives of Masood Azhar, Mufti Abdur Rauf and Hammad Azhar," a Pakistani interior ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying by Reuters.
India was, however, not impressed. “Our effort will be to see that there is demonstrable action," the person mentioned above said, adding that New Delhi had, in the past, seen Pakistan take some superficial steps such as holding people in preventive custody.
Responding to recent statements by Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi that Islamabad will not allow its soil to be used for terrorist attacks, he said: “These are words that India has heard before. This is old wine in a new bottle and is not enough."
“If it is a ‘naya (new) Pakistan’ with ‘naya soch (thinking),’ we need ‘naya action’," the person said. Pakistan’s moves to have terrorist groups on the watch list was “just an attempt by Islamabad to deceive the international community". “We want to see concrete action before any engagement," he said.
India also wants to ensure that the world recognizes Pakistan is the epicentre of terrorism, the person said. Tensions have been running high between India and Pakistan since the 14 February suicide attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district, which killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel.
India’s diplomatic initiative to ensure Pakistan takes action against terrorist groups and winds up the terror training infrastructure was led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, according to the person mentioned above. World leaders, including Russian President Vladmir Putin, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the prime minister of Singapore Lee Hsein Loong, were taken into confidence. “There was solid support for India" from all countries and there was no talk of mediation between India and Pakistan, he said.
Once the proposal to proscribe Masood Azhar under UN norms goes through, it would send out a significant political signal that the head of a yet another terrorist group, who is recognised as a terrorist, is based in Pakistan, he said.