A deadly attack on Indian-controlled Kashmir by Pakistani terrorists could prompt New Delhi to respond with punitive action that could set off a full-blown crisis between the historical enemies.
More than 40 Indian security officers died on Thursday following a suicide attack in Pulwama, a district south of Srinagar under Indian control. Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad, which is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, has claimed responsibility for the incident.
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed to respond strongly to the brutality. "A befitting reply will be given to the perpetrators of the heinous attack and their patrons," the popular politician said on Twitter Friday. "No force will succeed in disturbing peace, progress and stability of India."
The incident drew a barrage of international criticism toward Islamabad for failing to sufficiently crack down on domestic terrorists and terror financing — a longstanding issue that's landed the South Asian nation on global financial blacklists. Jaish-e-Mohammad is banned in Pakistan but the group is still believed to operate in the country.
In a two-line statement, Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the country has "always condemned heightened acts of violence" in Kashmir and that it will "strongly reject any insinuation by elements in the Indian government and media circles that seek to link the attack to the State of Pakistan without investigations."