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India-US joint statement on Pakistani Terrorism rattles Pakistan, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh Vows to take back POK

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PM Modi has just concluded his much awaited USA tour. This tour will be remembered for many important deals and watershed moments. When Prime Minister addressed the US Congress, both nations issued a joint statement wherein it reiterated the call for concerted action against all UN-listed terrorist groups including Al-Qa’ida, ISIS/Daesh, Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and Hizb-ul-Mujhahideen.

“They strongly condemned cross-border terrorism, the use of terrorist proxies and called on Pakistan to take immediate action to ensure that no territory under its control is used for launching terrorist attacks. They called for the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot attacks to be brought to justice,” read the joint statement.

“They noted with concern the increasing global use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), drones and information and communication technologies for terrorist purposes and reaffirmed the importance of working together to combat such misuse,” it added.

PM Modi also spoke about the “pressing danger” of radicalism and terrorism in his address to a joint sitting of the US Congress in Washington. There cannot be any ifs or buts in dealing with terrorism, the prime minister said in a strongly-worded message.

Here it is important to know that LeT is the group blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which more than 160 people were killed, while JeM claimed responsibility for a 2019 bombing in Indian-administered Kashmir that killed 40 Indian paramilitary personnel.

While India says Pakistan helps armed groups battling Indian security forces in its part of Kashmir since the late 1980s. Pakistan denies the accusation and says it only provides diplomatic and moral support for Kashmiris seeking self-determination.

Pakistan rattled

As expected, this joint statement didn’t go down well with Pakistan, and It  called it contrary to the diplomatic norms.

“It was stressed that the United States should refrain from issuing statements that may be construed as an encouragement of India’s baseless and politically motivated narrative against Pakistan,” Pakistan’s foreign office said in a statement on Monday.

“It was also emphasized that counterterrorism cooperation between Pakistan and the US had been progressing well and that an enabling environment, centered around trust and understanding, was imperative to further solidifying Pakistan-US ties.”

“We consider the Pakistan-specific reference in the ‘Joint Statement from the United States and India’, issued on 22 June 2023, as unwarranted, one-sided, and misleading,” the FO Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said in a statement.

“The reference is contrary to diplomatic norms and has political overtones. We are surprised that it has been added despite Pakistan’s close counterterrorism cooperation with the US,” he added.

Pakistan summons USA embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission

Pakistan’s foreign ministry has summoned the United States embassy’s deputy chief of mission to express concern over a statement last week by US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that called on Pakistan to ensure its territory was not used as a base for attacks by armed groups.

USA Government keeps tough stance on Terrorism

In a reply, US State Department official spokesperson Matthew Miller underscored that the Biden administration will continue to force Pakistan to dismantle militant bases from its soil. He said that the Biden administration will continue to force Islamabad to permanently disband all terrorist groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and their various front organizations.

“We remain committed to working with Pakistan to address the shared threat posed by terrorist groups throughout the region. At the same time, we have also been consistent on the importance of Pakistan continuing to take steps to permanently disband all terrorist groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and their various front organizations,” he said.

‘PoK will join India’: Rajnath Singh

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said that Pakistan government should concentrate on getting its country in order instead of speaking about Kashmir.

Speaking at a National Security Conclave in Jammu, Rajnath Singh reacted to Pakistan’s response to the joint statement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden.

Rajnath Singh slammed Pakistan’s statement and said: “Pakistan felt slighted by the joint statement from PM Modi and US President Joe Biden. They released the same old statement that India is removing the world’s attention from Kashmir. I agree with them – we have been successful in removing the world’s glare from Kashmir. I want to tell the government of Pakistan that it won’t gain anything by constantly citing Kashmir. Apna ghar sambhaliye (get your house in order).”

Pakistan is currently facing severe inflation, a shortage of foreign exchange reserves, and challenges in securing funds to avoid defaults. Additionally, targeted attacks on minority communities have been reported, including the recent killing of a Sikh man in Peshawar on Saturday, marking the second attack within 48 hours.

Rajnath Singh also said that Pakistan’s illegal occupation of a part of Kashmir does not grant them any legitimacy in the region. The Union minister emphasized that the people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) will soon demand to be a part of India.

“You are witnessing what is happening in the PoK now. We won’t have to do much. The tortured people of PoK will themselves demand to be a part of India. They have been raising slogans about becoming a part of India,” said Singh.

He added that capturing PoK illegally does not grant Pakistan any legal standing in the area. India firmly maintains that PoK is an integral part of its territory.

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