Pakistan condemns India for threatening cross-border pursuit of terror suspects

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan on Saturday denounced Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh’s “provocative remarks” threatening to enter Pakistan and kill suspects who escape over its border after carrying out terrorist attacks in India.

Singh made the controversial remarks in an interview with an Indian TV news channel that aired Friday when asked for his reaction to a recent British media report accusing the Indian government of killing some 20 people in Pakistan since 2020.

“India’s assertion of its preparedness to extrajudicially execute more civilians, arbitrarily pronounced as ‘terrorists,’ inside Pakistan constitutes a clear admission of culpability,” said a Pakistani foreign ministry statement.

It said the Indian minister’s claims backed Islamabad’s “irrefutable evidence” linking New Delhi to an alleged campaign of “extrajudicial and transnational assassinations” on Pakistani soil.

Islamabad cautioned that Indian officials’ “myopic and irresponsible behavior” could put regional peace at risk.

Singh said in his interview that his government would give a “befitting reply” to “any terrorist from a neighboring country” who tries to disrupt peace or conducts “terrorist activities” in India. “If he escapes to Pakistan, we will go to Pakistan and kill him there,” he said.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported earlier this week, quoting interviews with Pakistani and Indian intelligence officials, that New Delhi had been plotting the assassinations of individuals in Pakistan as part of a wider strategy to eliminate anti-India “terrorists living on foreign soil.”

The newspaper said the killings were carried out by operatives of the Research and Analysis Wing, the Indian spy agency, which is directly controlled by the office of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi is running for a third term in office in elections later this month.

Last year, Canada and the United States accused India of killing or attempting to kill people in their respective territories.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in September that his government was pursuing “credible allegations” linking the Indian government to the assassination of a Sikh separatist leader in Canada. New Delhi rejected the charges as “absurd and motivated.”

In November, Washington said it had thwarted an Indian plot to kill a Sikh separatist leader and announced charges against a person U.S. officials said had worked with India to orchestrate the attempted murder.

New Delhi has pledged to investigate any information it receives on the matter.

Pakistan’s traditionally troubled relations with India have deteriorated since a 2019 suicide bombing of a military convoy in the Indian-administered part of the disputed Kashmir region that killed 144 Indian soldiers.

The attack was reportedly claimed by a Pakistan-based outlawed militant group, prompting India to carry out aerial strikes against what it said were militant bases in the Pakistani-administered portion of Kashmir.

Islamabad rejected Indian claims of sheltering militants and denounced the Indian military attack. It then carried out retaliatory airstrikes against several targets in Indian-controlled Kashmir. During an ensuing skirmish, Pakistan shot down an Indian fighter jet and briefly held its pilot captive before returning him to India.

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