South Asian nations should play active role to establish peace in the region

India-Pakistan unrest

India, in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack, has requested the international community to take concrete diplomatic steps against Pakistan. The proposal includes officially condemning Pakistan for the Pulwama attack and supporting Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organization founded to develop policies to combat money laundering and terrorism financing, blacklisting and the designating Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.

At least 41 paramilitary troops were killed when a van packed with explosives ripped through a convoy bringing 2,500 troopers back from leave in Kashmir on Thursday.

India-Pakistan bilateral relation took a twisted turn after New Delhi accused Pakistan of sheltering militants behind one of the deadliest attacks in three decades in Kashmir. India, in reaction to the attack, has withdrawn Most Favored Nation trade status to Pakistan and raised tariffs on all Pakistani imports to 200 percent to ensure complete isolation from the international community of Pakistan.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is under heavy pressure from his supporters to punish Pakistan on the eve of India’s General Elections before May, has vowed a “heavy price” against the attack stating “the terrorist groups and their masters that they have committed a big mistake.”

India has also slammed Pakistan for giving JeM, who according to media reports, took the responsibility of the suicide bomb attack, “full freedom to operate and expand his terror infrastructure in territories under the control of Pakistan and to carry out attacks in India and elsewhere with impunity”.

But, Pakistan, who has also condemned the attack, has dubbed the India’s accusation as “baseless accusations” and rejected any link between the attack and Pakistan.

India during a briefing to envoys of P-5 countries (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), South Asian nations, Japan, Germany and South Korea underlined the role of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)–a Pakistan-based Deobandi jihadist group active in Kashmir–in the suicide bomb attack.

India, during the briefing, condemned Pakistan for using “terror as an instrument of state policy” and demanded Pakistan “cease forthwith all support and financing to terror groups operating from areas under their control”, according to source. India also briefed ambassadors from ASEAN, Iran, the Gulf Cooperation Council, Central Asia and Africa over the same issue.

Over 50 countries have expressed condolences and condemned the deadly suicide bomb attack at Pulwama.  Nepal also expressed heartfelt condolences and condemned the terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir. “The government of Nepal unequivocally condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and believes that such heinous acts of terrorism cannot be justified on any ground,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated.

The US has backed India’s right to defend itself against the attack, condemning “the heinous terrorist attack by a Pakistan-based terrorist group”. The US has called on Pakistan to end immediately the support provided to all terrorist groups operating on its soil, whose only goal is to sow chaos, violence and terror in this region.

Both India and Pakistan should try to resolve the current diplomatic tensions including terrorism in the cross-border area and establish peach in the region. Unless both nations sit and resolve their differences, efforts to establish long-lasting peace in the region, cannot bear fruits. The international community, most of all the South Asian nations, should play proactive role in bringing India and Pakistan to the discussion table and play proactive role in assisting them to resolve their differences, to establish peace and embark towards development and economic prosperity.