NEW DELHI/ SRINAGAR: Opposition parties appeared to back Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resolve to take retaliatory action against terrorists and their supporters when they resolved to back the government’s efforts to fight terrorism and defend “the unity and integrity of India.”
“The entire nation speaks in one voice to express its determination to fight these challenges. Today, we stand united in solidarity with our security forces in fighting terrorism and in defending the unity and integrity of India,” the resolution passed at the end of an all-party meeting on Saturday said.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said: “We stand with the government for the unity and security of the nation and the security forces... the Congress gives its full support to the government in the fight against terrorism.”
The meeting called by Home Minister Rajnath Singh was attended by Azad, Anand Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia of the Congress, Sudip Bandopadhyay and Derek O’ Brien of the Trinamool Congress, Sanjay Raut of the Shiv Sena, D Raja of the Left, Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference among others.
Intelligence agencies, in the meantime, are learnt to have identified the mastermind of the attack as Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed commander Rasheed Ghazi. Ghazi, said to be in his late twenties, entered Kashmir two months ago through Kupwara. Agencies believe Ghazi, an IED expert, trained Adil Ahmad Dar, the suicide bomber.
Meanwhile, Modi reiterated his government’s resolve at a rally in Maharashtra. “The terrorist groups no matter where they hide, they will be punished. Security forces have been told to decide the fate of terrorists who attacked our jawans in Pulwama,” he said.
Meanwhile, India got support from the United States when its National Security Adviser John Bolton called Indian counterpart Ajit Doval and recognized India’s right to self-defence against cross-border terrorism. Bolton offered all assistance to India to bring the perpetrators and backers of the attack to justice.
India also mounted further pressure on Paksitan when Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that following the withdrawal of the most favoured nation status to its neighbour, “basic customs duty on all goods exported from Pakistan to India has been raised to 200% with immediate effect.” p9