India Recalls Its Ambassador to Pakistan
The moves come just over a week after a deadly attack on India’s parliament building that left 14 people dead, including five assailants.
Indian officials say the moves are in response to what they call Pakistani support of “cross-border terrorism,” referring to Pakistan’s endorsement of separatist militias fighting Indian rule in parts of the disputed province of Kashmir.
“In view of this complete lack of concern on the part of Pakistan, [and] its continued promotion of cross-border terrorism, the government of India has decided to recall its high commissioner in Islamabad,” Nirupama Rao, spokeswoman for India’s ministry of external affairs, reading an official statement.
“Since the Dec. 13 attack on the parliament, we have seen no attempt on the part of Pakistan to take action against the organizations involved,” Rao said.
Pakistani officials said they would not take action in response to the diplomatic recall.
They also reported increased Indian troop movement along its borders. Pakistani officials expressed concern, saying the troop positions would aggravate a tense situation and, they said, could prompt a response.
“The Indian troop movements follow provocative and threatening statements by Indian leadership,” a Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman told Reuters. “Naturally, Pakistan would be obliged to take all appropriate counter measures.”
Both countries today announced their withdrawal from a summit of South Asian nations scheduled Jan. 4. Some say the pullout could suggest a greater breakdown in diplomatic relations on the horizon.
State Dept. Spokesman Richard Boucher today urged the two nuclear rivals to avoid any further heightening of tensions. Boucher did not comment on India’s recall decision, saying the U.S. “see[s] these as internal matters for the Indian government.”
President Bush today called on Pakistan to take action against Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, a Kashmiri separatist group India has accused of involvement in in the parliament attack. Pakistan’s government has not yet responded to the request.
According to the BBC, Pakistan did move to freeze the assets of another group, Umnah Tameer E-nau, which the U.S. has accused of funneling nuclear secrets to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida terrorist network.
India has also pushed for a crackdown against militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed. Both groups have denied involvement in the attack.
Pakistan has rejected India’s accusations that its intelligence service supported the attack and said it would take no action until India supplied proof.
In response, India said it had provided proof to the United States, Britain and other Indian allies about the guilt of the two groups.
India and Pakistan are both part of the U.S.-led anti-terrorism coalition. It is unclear what the new conflict between the nations will have on the coalition.