New Delhi: Displaying rare unity, all political parties on Saturday sent out a message of solidarity with security forces and underlined India’s determination to fight terrorism at a meeting called by home minister Rajnath Singh to discuss the Pulwama terror attack that left 40 security personnel dead.
The parties, including the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress and others, passed a resolution condemning the terror attack and support being given to it from across the border. Leaders suggested another meeting later of all party chiefs to chalk out the future course of action in the backdrop of the Pulwama strike by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
The resolution did not name Pakistan but asserted that India has been facing the menace of the cross-border terrorism actively encouraged by forces from the neighbouring country.
The home minister also reviewed the security scenario in the country in a meeting with national security adviser Ajit Doval, chiefs of the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) and Intelligence Bureau (IB) and heads key para-military forces.
India also took tough economic measures to punish Pakistan by hiking customs duty to 200 per cent on all goods imported from across the border. Pakistan’s exports to India were worth `3,482.3 crore in 2017-18. Its top exports to India include fruits, cement, petroleum products, bulk minerals and ores and finished leather.
During the all-party meeting, leaders were briefed about the attack in Pulwama and the steps being taken by the government so far, an official said.
In his opening remarks, Mr Singh said, “The government is determined to take its fight against terrorism to the logical conclusion. The sacrifices of security personnel will not go in vain. The people of Jammu and Kashmir want peace and are with us, but there are some elements supporting the Pakistan-sponsored terrorist groups.”
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad asked the home minister to urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to convene a meeting of presidents of all major national and regional parties, a view supported by Derek O’Brien of the Trinamul Congress and D. Raja of the Communist Party of India (CPI), for deciding the future course of action.
The resolution adopted at the nearly two-hour meeting said, “India has displayed both firmness and resilience in dealing with these challenges. The entire nation speaks in one voice to express its determination to fight these challenges.”
It added, “Today, we stand united in solidarity with our security forces in fighting terrorism and in defending the unity and integrity of India.”
The meeting was also attended by Anand Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia of the Congress, Sudip Bandyopadhyay of the TMC, Sanjay Raut of the Shiv Sena, Jithendra Reddy of the TRS, Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference, Ram Vilas Paswan of the LJP, among others.
During the security review meeting, the home minister was briefed about the prevailing security situation, particularly in the Valley and along the border with Pakistan.
Counter offensive steps launched by the security forces to hunt down active militants, particularly in South Kashmir, were also discussed.
Security agencies, sources added, have been asked to remain on high alert as terror groups could now plan to strike outside the Valley in the hinterland.
It was also decided to review security provided to Kashmiri separatists leaders suspected of having links with Pakistani intelligence agency ISI and terror groups. Sources said it is possible that their security might be withdrawn after an assessment by the Jammu and Kashmir administration.
The home ministry also issued an advisory to all states and Union Territories to ensure proper security for Kashmiri students and other residents from the state in their areas.