Washington, DC – The United States condemned in the strongest terms the lethal terror attacks in the Northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. At least 40 Indian paramilitary police have been killed in a bomb attack by militants on their convoy when a car filled with explosives allegedly rammed into a bus carrying the troops to Srinagar. Pakistan-based Islamist group Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) said it was behind the deadliest militant attack on Indian forces in Kashmir since the insurgency against Indian rule began in 1989.
In a statement issued late afternoon from the State Department, Robert Palladino said, “The United States condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attack today on an Indian Central Reserve Police Force convoy in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.” Extending, “our deepest condolences to the victims and their families, Palladino wished “a speedy recovery to those injured.”
“The United States is resolutely committed to working with the Indian government to combat terrorism in all its forms,” said the State Department Deputy Spokesperson. “The UN designated, Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Muhammad has claimed responsibility for this heinous act,” noted Palladino, calling, “on all countries to uphold their responsibilities pursuant to UN Security Council resolutions to deny safe haven and support for terrorists.”
There was a flood of tweets from US lawmakers earlier condemning the deadly attacks. Among others, Indian origin Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal tweeted, “Heartbreaking. My thoughts are with the families of the victims of heinous terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir today. We must confront terror and defeat it, wherever it occurs. #KashmirTerrorAttack.”
Senator Bob Menendez in his tweet said, “Infuriated to hear about the #KashmirTerrorAttack in India today—one of the deadliest in the region since 1989. I unequivocally condemn this brutal terrorist attack and am keeping the victims and their families in my prayers.”
Nisha Biswal, President, US India Business Council (USIBC) business group and Former Assistant Secretary of State for South/Central Asia in the erstwhile President Barack Obama administration tweeted: “Terrible attack on Indian Security Forces in J&K. We extend our condolences and stand in solidarity with the Indian people.”
Answering a question on the subject in the United Nations briefing room, a statement from the UN Secretary General António Guterres condemning the attack was read out. “We strongly condemn today’s attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district and express our deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and to the Government and people of India.” The statement further noted, “We of course wish a speedy recovery to those injured and call for those behind the attack to be brought to justice.”
India in its official reaction called for international sanctions against Jaish-e-Muhammad’s leader, Masood Azhar while neighboring Pakistan said the attack was a matter of “grave concern” but rejected suggestions that it was responsible for it.
The blast took place on the heavily guarded Srinagar-Jammu highway about 12 miles from the main city of Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir. The highway had been closed due to snow and bad weather for a week, according to reports.