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Pulwama attack: India continues its diplomatic campaign; briefs Gulf, ASEAN and African envoys 

File photo: Security officers stand guard near the site blast in Lethpora area of south Kashmir's Pulwama district some 20 kilometres from Srinagar. Photograph:( Agencia EFE )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 16, 2019, 06.32 PM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

India's diplomatic campaign continued for the second day on Saturday as diplomats from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Central Asia, ASEAN, Africa and non-permanent members of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) were briefed at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) post-Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel. 

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and secretaries strongly rejected the denial by Pakistan of its involvement in the attack and highlighted how Pakistan has been using terrorism as an instrument of its state policy. 

Diplomats from over 15 countries were briefed about Pakistan's involvement in the terror attack and its continued support to terrorism by providing safe havens to groups like Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). JeM has taken responsibility for the attack which has been billed as the worst ever in over two decades.

Dean of Diplomatic Corps Ambassador Frank Hans Dannenberg Castellanos was also present during the MEA briefing. Dean is the main representative of diplomatic corps and the longest serving ambassador in a country.

An ambassador, on the condition of anonymity, told WION, "this time it's much more than statements".

On Friday, India briefed 25 envoys from P-5 (Permanent Five of the United Nations Security Council) countries, South Asian countries and nations like Japan, Germany and South Korea. 

After the Cabinet Committee on Security meeting on Friday, it was decided that India will be calling on the international community to isolate Pakistan owing to its support to terror. After the Uri attack, India and other South Asian countries in the region boycotted the SAARC summit in Islamabad. 

India's focus will now be on highlighting Pakistan's support to terror at the 
Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting that begins from Sunday in Paris. Remember, Pakistan was put on the greylist last year by the group.

I am here for a while: Indian High Commissioner 

Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria was at MEA for the consultations. He was at the ministry for over an hour. Speaking to reporters after the meet he said, "I am here for consultations". "I don't know for how many days but I am here for a while," Bisaria added. 

There may be some special declaration on Pulwama attacks by the President of Argentina Mauricio Macri during his India visit which will begin Sunday.

US backs India's right to self-defence

Meanwhile, the United States has said it will back India's "right to self-defence against cross-border terrorism". In a phone call from US National Security Advisor (NSA) John Bolton to India's NSA Ajit Doval, Washington "offered all assistance to India to bring the perpetrators and backers of the attack promptly to justice," an MEA release said.

Both the NSAs "vowed to work together" to ensure that Pakistan "cease to be a safe haven" for Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) and other terrorist groups.

New Delhi and Washington also "resolved to hold Pakistan to account" for its "obligations under UN resolutions and to remove all obstacles to designating" JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.

India had approached United Nation Security Council's 1267 Committee three years ago to designate Azhar as an international terrorist but Bejing blocked it citing lack of consensus. 

The United States was one of the first countries to condemn the terror attack and called on Pakistan not to provide safe haven to terrorists. The White House called on "Pakistan to end immediately the support and safe haven provided to all terrorist groups operating on its soil".

US State Department called on "all countries to uphold their responsibilities pursuant to UN Security Council resolutions to deny safe haven and support for terrorists". 

Meanwhile, expressions of strong condemnations continue to pour in from across the world. Around 50 countries have condemned the terror attacks so far, including US, Germany, Russia, France, China, EU, Australia, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Iran, among other nations. 

Iran comes hard on Pakistan

As India mounts pressure on Islamabad, Iran also hit out and called for action on terror groups responsible for the terror attack that killed 27 of its Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday in south-eastern Sistan-Baluchistan province. 

"If Pakistan does not carry out its responsibilities, Iran reserves the right to confront threats on its borders ... based on international law and will retaliate to punish the terrorists", Revolutionary Guards commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari was quoted by the state media.

Story highlights

Diplomats from over 15 countries were briefed about Pakistan's involvement in the terror attack and its continued support to terrorism by providing safe havens to groups like Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).