AFP – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has strongly condemned the militant attack on an army base in Uri, northern state of Kashmir, killing and wounding tens of people, said an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The official offered the Kingdom’s condolences to the families of the victims as well as the government and people of the friendly Republic of India, wishing speedy recovery to the wounded.
Meanwhile, India on Monday weighed its response to a bloody raid on the army base in Kashmir which fueled tensions with nuclear-armed Pakistan, as some politicians called for military action after the worst attack of its kind in over a decade.
New Delhi has said Pakistan-based militants were behind Sunday’s attack in which 18 soldiers were killed, raising the prospect of a military escalation in the already tense disputed Himalayan region.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised those responsible would not go unpunished, as his home minister accused Pakistan of “continued and direct support to terrorism and terrorist groups.”
India regularly accuses its arch-rival Pakistan of arming and sending rebels across the heavily militarized border that divides Kashmir between the two countries, to launch attacks on its forces.
Some Indian politicians and army veterans have called for a muscular response to the assault, including air strikes on training camps on the Pakistan side of the Line of Control that divides Kashmir.
The neighbors have fought three wars since gaining independence from British rule in 1947, two of them over Kashmir.
But media urged caution, with the Indian Express saying such calls were “easier made than acted upon” and warning that targeting militants inside Pakistan would invite reprisals.
The United Nations also called for restraint as Indian ministers met on Monday for urgent talks.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack in a statement and said he hoped all sides would “prioritize the re-establishment of stability and prevent any further loss of life.”
The attack followed weeks of protests against Indian rule in Kashmir sparked by the killing of popular rebel leader Burhan Wani in a gunfight with security forces.
At least 87 civilians have been killed and thousands injured in clashes between protesters and security forces, the worst unrest to hit the region since 2010.
Islamabad on Monday accused New Delhi of trying to deflect attention from that unrest with what it called “vitriolic and unsubstantiated statements.”
“It is a blatant attempt on India’s part to deflect attention from the fast deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation in the Indian-occupied Kashmir since the death of Burhan Wani,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
Sunday’s attack was one of the bloodiest on soldiers since an armed rebellion against Indian rule erupted in 1989. Militants killed 30 soldiers and their families in a suicide attack in Kaluchak in the Himalayan region in 2002.
The army’s director-general of military operations Ranbir Singh has blamed Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad, which was implicated in an audacious attack on an Indian air force base in the northern state of Punjab in January that left seven soldiers dead.
On Monday soldiers paid tribute to their colleagues, most of whom died when their tents and other accommodation caught fire, at a wreath-laying ceremony in Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar.
Rebel groups which have been fighting Indian troops in Kashmir since 1989 seek either independence for the region or its merger with Pakistan.
Soldiers have been deployed in the territory for decades and currently number around 500,000. Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have died in the fighting