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'False and malicious propaganda': India rejects allegations of targeted killings in Pakistan

A report by the Guardian claimed that India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) has been overseeing targeted assassinations of terrorists in Pakistan, citing Indian and Pakistani intelligence officials. India's strategy to eliminate terrorists abroad was triggered by the Pulwama attack in 2019.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee New Delhi Updated on: April 05, 2024 10:31 IST
India, targeted killings, Pakistan
Image Source : PTI (FILE) External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar

New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs has slammed and rejected allegations of assassinating individuals in Pakistan as part of a strategy to eliminate terrorists living on foreign soil. This came after a report by the Guardian, where Indian and Pakistani intelligence operatives said India's foreign intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), had ordered killings of terrorists in Pakistan.

The MEA denounced the allegations by reiterating an earlier statement that they were "false and malicious anti-India propaganda" and emphasised a previous denial by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar who said that targeted killings in other countries were “not the government of India’s policy”.

Speaking to both Indian and Pakistani intelligence officials, and citing documents shared by Pakistani investigators, the report claims that 20 such targeted assassinations have been carried out since 2020, carried out by unknown gunmen in Pakistan. This comes as the US and Canada also accused India's involvement in the botched murder plot of Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, an India-designated Khalistani terrorist in New York, and the death of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey last year.

The report mentioned India's denial of the allegations and claimed that "Delhi has implemented a policy of targeting those it considers hostile to India". Indian intelligence officers said that RAW's shift to focusing on terrorists living on foreign soil was triggered by the Pulwama attack in 2019, where 40 Indian paramilitary personnel were killed in a suicide bomb attack, for which the Jaish-e-Mohammed took responsibility.

“After Pulwama, the approach changed to target the elements outside the country before they are able to launch an attack or create any disturbance,” one Indian intelligence operative said. “We could not stop the attacks because ultimately their safe havens were in Pakistan, so we had to get to the source.”

Terrorists killed in Pakistan

This report comes as several Pakistani terrorists featured on India's list of most wanted people have been found dead under mysterious circumstances. Sheikh Jameel-ur-Rehman, a notorious figure belonging to the United Jihad Council (UJC), was found dead under "mysterious circumstances" in Pakistan on March 2.

Prior to that, a terrorist associated with Lashkar-e-Taiba, Habibullah, was killed by unknown gunmen who opened fire at him in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on December 17, 2023. The External Affairs Ministry had last year said that India would like the terrorists to come to India and face the legal system.

The report by the Guardian mentioned documentation of 20 fatalities in Pakistan by unknown attackers since 2020, though two had been claimed by local militant groups. However, Pakistan has refused to publicly investigate the cases or even acknowledge that these individuals are living in their jurisdiction, adding to the uncertainty of their killings, said Ajay Sahni, the executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management in Delhi.

India has accused Pakistan for decades of rolling out a violent terrorist insurgency in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and of giving a safe haven to terrorists. In the early 2000s, India was hit by successive terrorist attacks orchestrated by Pakistan-based terrorist groups, including the 2006 Mumbai train blasts, which killed more than 160 people, and the 2008 Mumbai bombings, which killed 172 people.

ALSO READ | Jammu and Kashmir: 1 terrorist killed after Indian Army foils infiltration bid in Uri

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