A senior Indian military commander in Kashmir says Pakistan’s main spy agency was involved in a deadly bomb attack in the disputed region that killed more than 40 Indian troops last week.
The car bomb attack, which was claimed by the Pakistan-based militant group the so-called Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), killed the Indian paramilitary troops on the outskirts of the main city of Srinagar on Thursday.
Indian Commander General K.J.S. Dhillon said on Tuesday that the attack “was being controlled from across [the frontier] by ISI and Pakistan and JeM commanders,” using a shorthand for the Inter-Services Intelligence, which is Pakistan’s main spy agency.
“The JeM is a child of the Pakistan army and the ISI. The attack was masterminded by Pakistan, ISI, and JeM,” he said.
Dhillon said New Delhi had tracked the masterminds of the attack but added that he could not be more specific about the suspected role of the Pakistani spy agency.
Responding to the deadly attack, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that those behind the bombing “have to pay a heavy price.”
“We will give a befitting reply; our neighbor will not be allowed to de-stabilize us,” Modi said.
“I want to tell the terrorist groups and their masters that they have committed a big mistake. They have to pay a heavy price,” he said after an emergency cabinet meeting.
India summons Islamabad’s ambassador over a deadly bombing in Kashmir after a Pakistani militant group claimed responsibility.
‘Starting a war is in the hands of humans’
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has denied Islamabad’s involvement in the attack, saying New Delhi has “blamed the Pakistan government without any evidence… If you have any evidence, we will act.”
“It is in our interest that nobody from our soil spreads violence. I want to tell Indian government that we will take action if evidence is found against anyone from Pakistan,” Khan said on Tuesday.
The prime minister also warned that in the event of an attack by India, Islamabad would not waste time thinking about retaliation. “We will retaliate,” he said.
“We all know starting a war is in the hands of humans, where it will lead us only God knows. This issue should be solved through dialog,” he added.
Pakistan demands open investigation by India
Separately, in a letter to the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi demanded that India conduct an open and credible investigation into the bombing.
“Attributing it to Pakistan even before investigations is absurd,” Qureshi said, calling on the UN to help “defuse tensions” in the region.
“It is with a sense of urgency that I draw your attention to the deteriorating security situation in our region resulting from the threat of use of force against Pakistan by India,” he wrote.
Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed region located between India and Pakistan. The two nuclear-armed rivals have fought four wars since their partition in 1947, three of them over Kashmir.
Pakistan is widely accused of arming and training militants.
Last Wednesday, an explosives-laden car rammed into a bus carrying Iranian security personnel in Sistan-and-Baluchestan Province — which borders Pakistan — killing 27 of them and wounding 13 others. The so-called Jaish ul-Adl terrorist group, which is linked to al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the assault.
Various civilian and military Iranian officials have in the wake of the Wednesday terrorist attack used unprecedented rhetoric against the government in Islamabad for harboring terrorists, who routinely stage attacks against Iran from inside Pakistan and then retreat into Pakistani territory.