India will move to diplomatically isolate Pakistan at all international fora as part of a multi-pronged retaliation strategy following an attack on an army base in Kashmir’s Uri, a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided on Monday.
The death toll in the strike rose to 18 as a soldier admitted at Delhi’s army hospital succumbed to his injuries amid growing calls for a fierce counter-strike against Pakistan and militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad, which India believes orchestrated the attack.
Sources said the prime minister leaned towards presenting clear evidence of Pakistan’s complicity to be presented at all multilateral and bilateral engagements, including the upcoming United Nations general assembly. India aims to push for more Pakistan-based “terror elements” to be brought under the UN sanctions regime.
“I am certain many countries are willing to join hands with India to isolate Pakistan,” former foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh told HT.
But any attempt by India to bring Pakistani elements under the sanctions regime has so far been unsuccessful, because of opposition from China, among others.
Sources said India’s response is expected to be “measured” and taking long-term implications into account.
A group of four heavily armed militants sneaked into the strategic Uri base near the Line of Control at dawn on Sunday and set fire to a building before an hours-long gun battle with security forces killed them.
The attack squeezed the already shrinking space for bilateral diplomatic détente and jeopardized hopes of any peace to Kashmir that has been rocked by violent protests, which have killed 86 people.
The two-hour-long Monday meeting in Delhi was attended by home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley, defence minister Manohar Parrikar, national security adviser Ajit Doval, army chief Dalbir Singh and other senior officials. Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj was absent.
Parikkar is believed to have told the army to act sternly against extremists while minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju said a “befitting reply” would be given.