A day after Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahari released its first video on Kashmir, asking terrorists to inflict "unrelenting blows" on the Indian Army and the government to "bleed" the economy and make the country suffer, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Thursday downplayed the stern warning by the global terror outfit.
Zawahari, who took over the reins of Al-Qaeda after the death of Osama bin Laden, in its maiden video, said, "I am of the view that the Mujahideen (armed terrorists) in Kashmir- at this stage at least- should focus with single mind on inflicting unrelenting blows on the Indian Army and government so as to bleed the Indian economy and make India suffer sustained losses in manpower and equipment".
The video was posted on 'As-Sahab' channel, an in-house production of al Qaeda used to relay the organisation's views to the world, also asked the terrorists "to establish stronger channels of communication with their Muslim brethren all over the world".
Reacting to the video message, Kumar, in a press conference, said, "We have heard such threats many times in the past, I don't think we should take it seriously. Our security forces are well equipped and capable of maintaining our territorial integrity and sovereignty".
Raveesh Kumar, MEA on Al-Qaeda Chief Ayman al Zawahiri's video: 'Aisi dhamkiyaan jo hai na hum sunte rehte hain, mujhe nahi lagta inko seriously lena chahiye.' Our security forces are well equipped and capable of maintaining our territorial integrity & sovereignty. pic.twitter.com/hI4vF8DlyS— ANI (@ANI) July 11, 2019
On Indo-US trade talks the MEA spokesperson said, "Approach is to engage in very positive manner. PM Modi and President Trump decided in Osaka that officials from both the sides will meet to resolve all outstanding issues related to trade. Us trade representive Mr Wilson is here and we will have to wait and see how they address on conflict issue".
Amid criticism that India was lagging in Kartarpur construction work, Kumar said India is on track to expeditiously complete the project so that pilgrims can have easy, smooth, secure and safe access to the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan throughout the year.
"Want project to be expeditiously completed. As far as infrastructure is concerned, work on 2 important aspects, on state of the art passenger terminal and on 4-lane highway, which is going to connect zero point of Kartarpur Corridor to national highway are underway," he told media.
"We are hopeful that the work on these 2 projects will be completed in time, one by September 2019 and other by October 2019. So reports which say that that we're slow in terms of finishing our projects, it's not the correct depiction," Kumar added.
"We have taken it up with Pakistan in the past not only on infrastructure related points, including the construction of a bridge, I think there is some discussion going on whether there should be a bridge or a paved road but even on other aspects," the MEA spokesperson claimed.
The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev.