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India will enter Pakistan to kill terrorists who flee there: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

Rajnath Singh's remarks came after a report by the Guardian claimed that India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) is behind targeted assassinations of terrorists in Pakistan. India's strategy to eliminate terrorists abroad was triggered by the Pulwama attack in 2019, it said.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee New Delhi Published on: April 06, 2024 12:18 IST
Rajnath Singh, India on killing Pak terrorists, targeted killings
Image Source : PTI Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

New Delhi: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday asserted that India will enter Pakistan to kill anyone who tries to escape in the neighbouring nation after carrying out terrorist activities in the country, a day after a report surfaced alleging that the Indian government was involved in the killings of at least 20 terrorists in Pakistan since 2020 as part of a wider strategy to eliminate threats on foreign soil.

"If they run away to Pakistan, we will enter Pakistan to kill them," Singh told CNN-New18 in response to a question about the report. "India always wants to maintain good relations with its neighbouring countries ... But if anyone shows India the angry eyes again and again, comes to India and tries to promote terrorist activities, we will not spare them."

It is widely known that relations between the two rival countries worsened to their lowest in 2019 after a suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama killed 40 Indian paramilitary personnel, for which Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed took responsibility. This caused India to retaliate with an airstrike on a terrorist base in Pakistan.

'False, malicious': India on allegations of targeted killings in Pakistan

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. The ministry reiterated 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”.

The report. published by the Guardian, cites Indian and Pakistani intelligence officials and documents and claims that India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) has been involved in the assassinations of terrorists residing in Pakistan. It claimed that "Delhi has implemented a policy of targeting those it considers hostile to India" and this shift in RAW's policy was triggered by the Pulwama attack, taking inspiration from Israel's Mossad and Russia's KGB.

“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 told the British daily. “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. Most recently, 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.

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.

(with inputs from Reuters)

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

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