In case of any terror attacks, India has ‘all options available’: officials

India will have “all options” available in case there is another terror strike, official sources asserted on March 5 while maintaining that the government will insist on concrete steps taken by Pakistan in dismantling terror infrastructure.

“If there is another terrorist attack, all options are available to the government,” the sources were quoted as saying in media reports.

Sources also said that India has shared with the US the evidence of use of F16 jet by Pakistan during retaliatory aerial combat and was confident that the US is investigating the matter.

Saying that India’s focus now was on fighting terrorism, the sources downplayed Pakistan’s claims that its soil is not being used for terrorism and that it was taking action against the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and the Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF).

“A similar commitment was made by then President Pervez Musharraf in 2004. We have heard this from previous governments. If this is naya Pakistan, we want to see naya action,” sources said, referring to Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan’s statement that he was building a ‘Naya Pakistan’ with a new thinking and one that has nothing to gain from being associated with terror acts.

“The Indian government’s position is that we have to fight terrorism on our own but we have to build international pressure on Pakistan,” the sources said, making clear India’s stand that it was not going to deflect from its fight against terrorism.

They also referred to recent interviews given by Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in which he had revealed two significant points vis a vis Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar.

“Significant points have come out in Qureshi’s interviews – that Masood Azhar is in Pakistan and that the authorities are in touch with the Jaish-e-Mohammed,” sources said.

“This makes India’s case to put Masood Azhar in UNSC 1267 sanctions list stronger. If Azhar gets sanctioned, irrespective of what action Pakistan takes, it will become more difficult for Pakistan to say they aren’t the epicentre of terrorism,” they said.

Referring to Qureshi’s statement that Masood Azhar was “very, very unwell”, the sources said, “India takes such reports with a pinch of salt. We had earlier had seen similar reports on Mullah Omar and Osama Bin Laden as well. Our effort is to bring Masood Azhar to book.”

Hinting that pressure was being built on Pakistan to take concrete steps towards removing terror hubs from its territory, the sources said that IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s repatriation from Pakistan was a result of global pressure being built on the neighbouring country.

As far as talks between India and Pakistan are concerned, the sources said the future of any talks between India and Pakistan depended on the latter documenting its actions to counter terror financing and sharing the report with the 36 members of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) before its next review meeting in June.

“Pakistan must first shut down terrorism camps before the issue of talks can be considered,” sources said.

“Let us hold Pakistan to their word that they won’t allow their soil to be used for terrorism,” they said.

Since Balakot strike, India is trying to build maximum pressure on Pakistan on the issue of terrorism, sources said.

Sources had said on March 4 the Indian Air Force has kept all its bases in Western sector on maximum alert after India carried out a strike on the biggest terrorist training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26.

Pakistan had attempted to retaliate by unsuccessfully targeting a number of military installations in Kashmir on February 27.

India’s air strike, which the government had termed a “non-military” action, followed a terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama, Kashmir, in which 40 personnel were killed.

(With inputs from PTI)