Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh has called arch-rival Pakistan a “terrorist state” in the wake of an attack on an army base in Kashmir, where nearly 20 Indian soldiers were killed.
Singh said on social media that Pakistan should be isolated from the international community as a state supporting terrorist groups.
“Pakistan is a terrorist state and it should be identified and isolated as such,” Singh said in a message posted on Twitter on Sunday.
The Indian minister said he was disappointed with “Pakistan’s continued and direct support” for terrorist groups.
He also stated that the assailants “were highly trained, heavily armed and specially equipped.”
Singh did not, however, specify whether the attackers were local fighters or infiltrators across the Line of Control (LoC), which divides parts of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir administered by India and neighboring Pakistan.
The urgent situation has forced Singh to cancel his planned trip to Russia and the United States.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reacted to the deadly incident. He has said that the perpetrators of the “cowardly terror attack” would be punished. “I assure the nation that those behind this despicable attack will not go unpunished.”
Indian army sources earlier said on Sunday that about four to six militants had carried out the deadly attack on the army base in the town of Uri near the Line of Control.
According to the sources, four militants were killed and army helicopters had been deployed to the site to evacuate over a dozen soldiers injured in the predawn attack.
The restive Muslim-majority region has witnessed an increase in mass protests and violent attacks since early July, when Burhan Wani, a top figure in a pro-independence group, was killed in a shootout with Indian troops.
Tens of thousands of government troops have been deployed to the region and nearly 80 people have lost their lives in the ensuing crackdown.
The government crackdown has failed to halt the protests against the Indian rule in Kashmir.
Indian troops are in constant clashes with armed groups seeking independence across Kashmir, which has been at the heart of a bitter territorial dispute between India and Pakistan, ever since the region gained independence from British rule in 1947.