UNITED NATIONS: The powerful UN Security Council has strongly condemned the "heinous and cowardly" Pulwama terror attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed and underlined the need to hold perpetrators of these "reprehensible acts" of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice.
Forty Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed in a suicide attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14, sparking outrage in the country.
"The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the heinous and cowardly suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir, which left 40 Indian paramilitary forces dead and dozens wounded on February 14, 2019, for which Jaish-e-Mohammed has claimed responsibility," the UN Security Council said in a statement on the 'Suicide Bombing in Jammu and Kashmir' on Thursday.
The powerful UN organ, which includes five permanent members China, France, Russia, UK and the US "underlined the need to hold perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice", it said.
The top UN body urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions to cooperate actively with the government of India and all other relevant authorities.
The press statement is highly significant as China, a permanent member of the Council, has in the past repeatedly blocked India's bids in the Security Council Sanctions Committee to designate JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.
"A statement with many firsts takes more time than expected. In complex diplomatic situations, however, it is better to be late than never," India's permanent representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin tweeted on the UNSC statement.
On whether China raised any objections to the statement, sources told PTI here that drafting the statement was a "prolonged process" and was issued after "prolonged discussions".
The members of the Security Council also expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the Indian people and the government of India, and wished a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured.
"The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security," it said.
The Council also reiterated that "any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed".
The UNSC reaffirmed the need for all States to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts,"it said.
The condemnation by the UN organ comes a day after Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi met top UN leaders including with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council President Anatolio Ndong Mba of Equatorial Guinea, briefing them about the escalating tensions in the region in the wake of the Pulwama attack.
In a major boost to India's efforts to get Azhar on the list of global terrorists, France is expected to soon move a proposal in the Sanctions Committee to ban the head of the UN-proscribed group.
The proposal, when moved, will be fourth such bid at the UN in past 10 years. In 2009, India moved by itself a proposal to designate Azhar.
This was followed in 2016 when India moved the proposal with the P3 - the US, the UK and France in the UN's 1267 Sanctions Committee to ban Azhar, also the mastermind of attack on the airbase in Pathankot in January, 2016.
In 2017, the P3 nations moved a similar proposal again. However, China always blocked the proposal from being adopted by the UN.
Guterres too had strongly condemned the terror attack and called for those behind the attack to be brought to justice.
On Wednesday, he again reiterated his strong condemnation of the terrorist attack, stressing that it is essential that there be accountability under international law and perpetrators of terrorist acts be brought swiftly to justice.
"The Secretary-General has been following with great concern the situation in South Asia. He reiterates his strong condemnation of the terrorist attack against Indian security forces in Pulwama," a statement issued by his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric had said.
At the same time, the Secretary-General "urgently" appealed to the Governments of both India and Pakistan to exercise maximum restraint to ensure the situation does not further deteriorate.
"It is the belief of the Secretary-General that all difficult challenges can be resolved peacefully and satisfactorily through meaningful mutual engagement," it said.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet had also strongly condemned the attack and called on authorities to bring those responsible to justice.
"The High Commissioner strongly condemns the suicide bomb attack against Indian security forces in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February and calls on authorities to bring those responsible to justice," Spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Rupert Colville had said in Geneva Tuesday.