India today came down hard on Pakistan for its criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his proxy war comments and asserted that terrorism was a "core concern" in its bilateral ties with Pakistan and all means available will be used to deal with the challenge.
In a strong reaction, the External Affairs Ministry said the Prime Minister was articulating India's concerns about terrorism emanating from Pakistani soil and India will deal with it effectively as its "tool kit is not restricted in any manner". "Terrorism for us is a real and present danger. The Prime Minister was articulating what is for us the core concern in our relation with Pakistan. Mere denials of selective approaches towards terrorism are not going to drive away our concerns," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.
Earlier, Pakistan had dubbed Modi's remarks that the neighbouring country was indulging in a proxy war as "baseless rhetoric" and said both countries should focus on resolving issues instead of engaging in blame game. "India will in any case address its concerns on terrorism through all means available to us. Our tool kit is not restricted in any manner," the Spokesperson said.
He said India's concerns stem from the fact that some of the worst terrorist attacks in the country owe the genesis to areas which were either in Pakistani control or in Pakistan and referred to the Parliament attack and 26/11 Mumbai strikes.
Asked whether the talks between Foreign Secretaries of the two countries will go ahead, he only said they are meeting following directives from Prime Ministers of both the countries to be in touch and look at the way forward in bilateral ties.
In Islamabad, Pakistan Foreign Office Spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam criticised Modi's comments on Pakistan's indulgence in proxy war. "The press reports of Indian accusations, at the highest political level, are most unfortunate, especially as the leadership of Pakistan wishes to establish good neighbourly relations with India," Pakistan Foreign Office Spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said.
Hitting back at Pakistan, the External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson said here that the attack on our Parliament and Mumbai terror attack cases cannot be just "wished away". "These are matters of present and real concern to us and Prime Minister was articulating our core concerns in our relationship with Pakistan," he said.
Prime Minister Modi, in his address to the Army and Air Force troops on his maiden trip to Leh yesterday, had said, "It is unfortunate that our neighbour's attitude...they have lost the power to fight a war but they use proxy war. There has been a process of killing innocent people through this proxy war."