India on Thursday criticised the stabbing of author Salman Rushdie, describing it as “horrific”. The comments by the foreign ministry, which was the first formal reaction by the government, came nearly two weeks after the attack.

“India has always stood against violence and extremism,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at his weekly media briefing. “We condemn the horrific attack on Salman Rushdie and we wish him a speedy recovery.”

Rushdie was stabbed in the neck and abdomen at an event in New York’s Chautauqua Institution on August 12. According to Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, the author’s liver and nerves in an arm were damaged in the attack. Rushdie was taken off the ventilator on August 13.

However, no Indian minister or official had made a public comment on the attack till Thursday.

Rushdie has faced several death threats for his book The Satanic Verses published in 1988. The book was also banned in India by the Rajiv Gandhi-led central government in 1988.

In 1989, Iran’s late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini had issued a religious edict known as a fatwa, asking Muslims to kill Rushdie.

Rushdie’s attacker was identified as Hadi Matar, a resident of New Jersey and was arrested at the scene. He pleaded not guilty before a court.

The attack on Rushdie had drawn criticism across the world. Iran, however, denied being involved in the incident.