Hours after withdrawing trade benefits accorded to Pakistan under the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status, India on Friday summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood to the foreign office and issued a strong demarche in connection with the gruesome terror attack on a CRPF convoy at Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.
India also asked its High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria to come to New Delhi for urgent consultations in the wake of the terror attack.
Even as major global powers expressed solidarity with India in the wake of the worst-ever attack carried out by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi convened a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) which vowed to take steps to completely isolate Pakistan in the comity of nations and avenge the killings of more than 40 brave CRPF jawans.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman attended the meeting.
Briefing the media after the meeting, Jaitley said India would do everything possible to bring perpetrators to justice. The External Affairs Ministry would initiate steps on the diplomatic front to name and shame Pakistan for exporting terror.
Soon after the CCS meeting, National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval is believed to have held confabulations with the top brass of the Defence and External Affairs ministries to consider various options to avenge the killings of Indian paramilitary personnel.
Sources confirmed that there was a growing pressure on the government to snap diplomatic ties with Pakistan and carry out another round of surgical strikes to eliminate terror groups operating from the Pakistani soil.
Outraged over the terror attack, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale summoned the Sohail Mahmood and firmly told him that Islamabad must immediately stop any groups or individuals associated with terrorism operating from its territories.
He also told the Pakistani diplomat that India rejected the statement made by the Pakistan Foreign Ministry yesterday dissociating Islamabad from the Pulwama massacre. It was also pointed out to him that Pakistan-based and supported Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) had already owned responsibility for the attack.
The significance is being attached to India’s decision to withdraw the MFN status it had granted to Pakistan in 1996 as part of its WTO obligations. However, Pakistan did not reciprocate India’s gesture.
The feeling in Indian official circles is that the withdrawal of the MFN status will hurt Pakistan badly, especially since the neighbouring country’s economy is already in a mess.
India’s neighbours, including Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Bhutan—and other countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran, Russia, Germany, Canada, UK, Australia and Canada came out in strong support of New Delhi following the terror attack.
Dean of Diplomatic Corps in New Delhi Hans Dannenberg Castellanos expressed deep sympathy with the Indian Government and the families of victims of the horrendous attack. He said the diplomatic community in Indian firmly supported New Delhi against terrorism.