India has limited options to diplomatically pressurise Pakistan: New York Times

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India has limited options to diplomatically pressurise Pakistan: New York Times

NEW DELHI — India accused Pakistan on Friday of orchestrating a suicide bombing that killed dozens of soldiers in Kashmir, the worst attack there in decades, promising an appropriate response and calling on world leaders to isolate its neighbor.

Pakistan has denied involvement in the attack, in which at least 40 Indian soldiers were killed Thursday when a driver slammed an explosives-packed vehicle into a paramilitary convoy. But by Friday afternoon, India had recalled its ambassador to Pakistan for consultations in New Delhi.

With national elections in India set to take place by May and Prime Minister Narendra Modi facing a close contest, analysts say he risks looking weak if he does not respond. Mr. Modi was elected in 2014 on promises to crack down on Kashmir’s militants and to adopt a tougher line on Pakistan. The nuclear-armed rivals have gone to war three times since independence in 1947, with two of the wars fought over Kashmir.

“We will give a befitting reply; our neighbor will not be allowed to destabilize us,” Mr. Modi said after an emergency meeting with security advisers on Friday, according to Reuters. “Our security forces are given full freedom” to respond, he added.

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said India would use all diplomatic means to “ensure the complete isolation from the international community of Pakistan, of which incontrovertible evidence is available of having a direct hand in this gruesome terrorist incident.”

The streets of Jammu, in the part of the disputed Himalayan region that India controls, were generally quiet on Friday after a curfew was imposed. But anti-Pakistan protests broke out in parts of India, with demonstrators calling on the government to retaliate.

Scores poured into Delhi’s streets, wearing the saffron-colored scarves of Mr. Modi’s Hindu nationalist party, pumping their fists and waving signs that read: “Attack Pakistan. Crush it.” Mamta Rawar, center, whose husband was killed in the Kashmir bombing, mourning with family members in Agra, India.CreditPawan Sharma/Agence France-Presse — Getty Imag

But India’s options for putting diplomatic pressure on Pakistan are limited. Pakistan is largely shielded by its alliance with China, which has used its veto power at the United Nations Security Council to protect it, while propping up Pakistan’s sputtering, increasingly isolated economy. Pakistan has grown closer to China as its relations with the United States have broken down over the past decade.

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India has renewed its call for the United Nations to blacklist Masood Azhar, the leader of the militant group linked to Thursday’s attack, Jaish-e-Muhammad, or Army of Muhammad. But a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman rebuffed the demand on Friday link .

Putting Mr. Azhar personally on a terrorist blacklist would deliver a financial blow to Jaish-e-Muhammad. Although the group is banned in Pakistan, Indian and American officials say it operates and raises funds in the country under different names.

For years, the United States has tried to get Mr. Azhar designated as an individual terrorist by the United Nations Security Council, but China has always blocked the move, a senior American official said on Friday.

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