US bill to designate Pakistan as a sponsor of terrorism: Boost for India’s anti-terror drive

India’s strategy of isolating Pakistan in the aftermath of the Uri terror attack has struck a powerful chord in the US. A day after US Secretary of State John Kerry chastised Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and asked him to prevent terrorists from using his country as safe havens, two American legislators introduced a legislation in the US Congress to designate Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism.
The bill, H.R 6069 or the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act, calls upon the US administration to make a formal assessment on the matter within four months of its passage.
The move to brand Pakistan as a terrorist state is seen as a triumph of Indian diplomacy as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj heads to the US on a concerted drive to corner Pakistan on account of its alleged complicity in the Uri terror attack in north Kashmir, which killed 18 Indian soldiers.
The bill is seen as a huge setback for Mr Sharif as he gears up to make a speech in the UNGA, in which he is expected to highlight India’s alleged human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir.
The US’ admonition of Pakistan underscores Washington’s growing wariness with Islamabad’s systematic duplicity on terrorism, and will bolster India’s drive to isolate Pakistan in the international community.

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Uri attack: There are no military options that will give India the outcome it wants

India does not have too many good options in responding to the militant raid that killed 17 Indian army personnel, perhaps the largest number ever for a single day of the Kashmiri insurgency that began in 1990.

Sure, you can break down the responses and see what works. First the military — an army raid across the Line of Control, an army incursion across the international border with Pakistan, a naval blockade of Karachi, an air strike on the Jaish headquarters in Bahawalpur, an air strike on camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Second, the diplomatic — a UN Security Council condemnation and sanctions, sanctions by friendly countries like the US, Japan, UK and Germany, and a few Gulf countries. All of the above have been thought about and have not got us anywhere.

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Terror attack in Uri: Global outrage over killing of Indian soldiers in Kashmir

The horrific terror attack at an Indian Army base in Jammu and Kashmir that killed 17 Indian soldiers has elicited strong global condemnation, with the US, UK and Canada, among others, coming out in solidarity with India.

Condemning the attack, the US underlined its ongoing cooperation with India to combat terrorism. “The United States strongly condemns the terrorist attack on an Indian army base in Kashmir…We extend our condolences to the victims and their families. The United States is committed to our strong partnership with the Indian government to combat terrorism,” said US state department spokesman John Kirby.
The pre-dawn raid on an Indian Army base at Uri in north Kashmir on September 18 by suspected Pakistani militants killed 17 Indian soldiers, triggering national outrage and calls for swift punitive action against perpetrators and their sponsors based in Pakistan. Indian security agencies blamed the attack on Jaish-e-Moahamed, also the prime suspect behind the attack on the Pathankot air base early this year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed to punish those behind the “cowardly” and “despicable” attack.

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Behind PM Modi’s Balochistan gamble: Shift in India’s foreign policy?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Indian independence, has drawn wide attention for his comments on Pakistan although he made no direct reference to the country. He drew a contrast between India’s belief in human values, as illustrated in the widespread grief in India at the massacre of innocent schoolchildren in Peshawar, with the “other side which glorifies terrorists”. He invited India’s neighbours to jointly fight poverty and not “destroy ourselves” by fighting our own people.
As Pakistan is accusing India of fomenting trouble in Baluchistan and POK, it is quite conceivable that it would apply its full template for raising military tension on the border and intensify cross-border terrorism in J&K; we hardly need reminding ourselves that this template, backed by nuclear weapons capability, constitutes Pakistan’s grand strategy towards India. One can envisage greater Pakistan-inspired terrorism in other parts of the country. Pakistan may even aim to escalate the border tension, involving the two armed forces, with the objective of drawing in great power intercession as it had tried during the Kargil conflict. The new Indian strategy assumes a certain risk but aims to apply calibrated pressure on Pakistani policy-makers and making them realise the adverse strategic situation they are in.

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India-Pakistan ties hit new low, Jaitley likely to skip SAARC meet

Signalling a deepening frostiness in bilateral ties with Pakistan, India’s Finance Minister is expected to skip the meeting of SAARC finance ministers in Islamabad August 25-26. Instead, India may send economic affairs secretary for the SAARC meet, informed sources said.
There is no official word on Jaitley’s participation in the SAARC finance ministers’ meeting in Islamabad. The final decision will be taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The relations between India and Pakistan have plummeted to a new low, with both sides trading accusations and playing a game of one-upmanship. In a tit-for-tat response to Pakistan’s support for violence in Jammu and Kashmir, PM Modi, in his Independence Day speech, subtly alluded to human rights violations in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan, saying people from these regions currently administered by Pakistan have thanked him. This is the first time an Indian prime minister has raised Balochistan and PoK in their Independence Day message, signalling a hardening of the Modi government’s posture towards Pakistan and the drawing of a new line on Kashmir.
Pakistan’s response to Mr Modi’s remarks suggest intransigence, which suggest that bilateral ties are headed for a deep freezer in days to come with minimal high-level contacts.

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Scotland says ‘No’ to independence from UK

After a long and sometime bitter campaign, voters in Scotland overwhelmingly chose to preserve its 307-year union with England, Northern Ireland and Wales. The final results showed that the unionist “No” side received 55.30 percent of the votes, while the separatist “Yes” side received a little less than 45 percent. “There can be no disputes, no reruns – we have heard the settled will of the Scottish people,” said Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron on September 19. “They have kept our country of four nations together. As I said during the campaign it would have broken my heart to see our United Kingdom come to an end,” said a distinctly relieved Mr Cameron

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