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India rejects Pak stand on Pulwama, summons envoy: Modi says 'free hand' given to forces


New Delhi, Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale on Friday summoned Pakistan envoy Sohail Mahmood and gave him a strong demarche on the Pulwama attack on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi categorically said several countries have already started appreciating India's stand on the terror menace and that they all are in favour of crushing the nefarious designs. 'The messages I have been getting since Pulwama attack have shown that the International community is equally pained and anguished due to dastardly act and wants to crush the menace,' the Prime minister said at a function at Jhansi in UP. Earlier in the morning, Prime Minister presided over a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security which decided among other things to withdraw Most Favoured Nation status given to the western neighbour in 1990s. Pakistan High Commissioner Mr Mahmood was summed to the Ministry of External Affairs at 1400 hours by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and issued a "very strong demarche". Foreign Secretary conveyed that Pakistan must take immediate and verifiable action against the JeM and that it must immediately stop any groups or individuals associated with terrorism operating from its territories, sources said. India also rejected the statement made by the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan on the incident on Thursday. In its statement, the Pakistan Foreign ministry went onto claim - "We have always condemned acts of violence anywhere in the world. We strongly reject any insinuation by elements in the Indian media and government that seek to link the attack to Pakistan without investigations". Addressing a railway function in the capital, Mr Modi said that perpetrators of Pulwama attack have committed a huge blunder and will have to pay a heavy price for it. "I want to say to the terror organisations and their supporters that they have committed a huge blunder. They will be made to pay a huge price," he said. "Hamari suraksha balon ko purna swatantrata de di gayi hai (At this time, the country's anguish and expectation for action is understandable. It is natural Our security forces have been given complete freedom and freehand)," Mr Modi said. At Jhansi, Mr Modi mocked at the economic distress Pakistan is in and said 'Pakistan is not able to run its day-to-day expenditures. It is moving with a begging bowl and no one is coming forward to help it". He tried to drive home the point that unlike the past, 'India now follows a new policy of being a decisive and firm nation'. 'If it thinks that by this kind of acts that Islamabad is perpetrating and plotting conspiracies, it will succeed in creating a divisive atmosphere and tension in India; Pakistan will have to give up such dreams altogether,' Mr Modi said. On the global front, the White House in the US mounted pressure on Imran Khan-led dispensation and in a rare but firm step has categorically asked Pakistan to immediately end "support and safe haven" to all terror groups. "The United States calls on Pakistan to end immediately the support and safe haven provided to all terrorist groups operating on its soil, whose only goal is to sow chaos, violence, and terror in the region," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. "This attack only strengthens our resolve to bolster counter-terrorism cooperation and coordination between the United States and India," she said in a strongly-worded statement. Russian President Vladimir Putin in his missives to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Modi said, "Please accept my sincere condolences" for the attack and said "we strongly condemn this brutal crime". "I would like to confirm the readiness for further strengthening of counter terrorism operation with our Indian partners," he said. Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) has claimed responsibility for the attack at Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday that left at least 37 CRPF personnel dead.

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