India protests soldiers’ killing

MEA Summons Pak Envoy; Prime Minister Monitoring Situation

ANIL ANAND

New Delhi, Jan 9: Taking strong exception to the killing of two soldiers on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, India has strongly condemned the incident and described it ghastly and unacceptable. The reaction was followed immediately by the External Affairs Ministry summoning Pakistan High Commissioner Salman Bashir and registering a strong protest.
Official sources said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is keeping a close watch on the situation and has been briefed by the Defence Minister and the National Security Adviser (NSA) on the issue. NSA Shivshankar Menon is briefing and keeping him abreast of all the developments. Defence Minister A K Antony and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid have spoken to him along with Minister for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari on the issue, sources said today.
Antony met the Prime Minister today to brief him on the latest situation and the steps taken by the Ministry to deal with it, they said.
Earlier, Defence Minister AK Antony called alleged action by Pakistani troops as “inhuman” and “provocative” and said that India will register a strong protest.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid had earlier said; “We have to make it known to Pakistan that this is unacceptable, ghastly and extremely short-sighted on their part.” He said India will take steps that are meaningful and effective.”
The two soldiers were killed early on Tuesday morning and another two injured allegedly by Pakistani troops who crossed into Indian territory along the LoC in Mendhar sector. The body of one of the soldiers was decapitated, said senior army sources.
This is one of the worst violations of the nearly decade-long ceasefire between India and Pakistan.
The Indian army described the attack as “a grave provocation.”
“Pak army troops, having taken advantage of thick fog and mist in the forested area, were moving towards own posts when an alert area domination patrol spotted and engaged the intruders. The firefight between Pak and own troops continued for approximately half an hour after which the intruders retreated back towards their side of Line of Control,” a statement by the Indian army disclosed.
On the contrary, Pakistan army has dismissed India's allegations of unprovoked firing, describing it as “Indian propaganda to divert the attention of the world from Sunday's raid on a Pakistani post by Indian troops in which a Pakistani soldier was killed.” India has denied violating the LoC or the ceasefire over the weekend.
The Indian army said the soldiers who were killed near Mendhar, about 220 km north of Jammu, were Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh.
Tension has been escalating along the Line of Control since the weekend. The army sources here said that on Sunday, Pakistani troops reportedly fired mortar shells at Indian army posts in the Uri sector along the Line of Control “to help militants cross over into India.”
The killing of two Indian soldiers reportedly by intruding Pakistani soldiers on Wednesday also drew sharp reactions from the political quarters.
“Pakistan must respect rules of engagement and the ceasefire agreement. How can we tolerate mutilation of our soldiers. Redlines must be drawn,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said in a remark posted on the social networking site Twitter.
Congress also reacted with anger and outrage over the incident with party spokesperson Rashid Alvi saying that Pakistan should not test India's patience. “What Pakistan has done on our borders is unfortunate. Pakistan should not test our patience,” he said.
Alleging that the neighboring country does not have respect for Line of Control, Alvi said, “We want good relations with all neighboring countries including Pakistan.
But Pakistan itself has put a question mark.”
Condemning the killing, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said it was a “warning" to India and asked the government to place all facts before the international community. He also asked the government to “clearly define the dos and don'ts” in relations with the neighboring nation.

ARMY COMMANDERS VISIT FORWARD POSTS
GKNN ADDS FROM POONCH: Amid heightened tension along LoC, several senior army commanders today visited the forward posts here to take stock of the situation.
Official sources told Greater Kashmir that around half a dozen army officers, including Northern Command Chief Lt Gen KT Parnaik, visited the forward belt in KG Sector and reviewed the security situation. They said that the army has already sounded a red alert along the border and soldiers have been asked to maintain extra vigil.
The bodies of two soldiers, who were allegedly killed by Pakistan troops, were meanwhile flown to the ancestral places.
Wrapped in the tri-colour, the bodies of Lance Naik Hemraj (29) and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh (28) were brought to Rajouri from the forward post in Poonch district today.
At Rajouri, wreaths were laid by Deputy General Officer Commanding (Dy-GOC) Brig J C Tiwari. The bodies were later taken in a helicopter to Jammu technical airport, from where they are being flown to Delhi.
While Lance Naik Hem Raj belongs to Mathura belt of Uttar Pradesh, Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh is from Madhya Pradesh.
Border Security Forces (BSF) meanwhile has said that it would take extra measures to ensure security along the Indo-Pak border and Line of Control.
“We are capable of meeting any challenge but honestly we had not anticipated such a kind of barbaric attack from Pakistan side”, IG BSF Rajeev Krishnan told media persons, in Jammu.
He said that the attack was barbaric and most shocking. “We have already taken preventive measures while some extra measures, which can not be disclosed to media, will be take in next few days to ensure that we are ready even for such surprise attacks”, he said.

GEN PARNAIK BRIEFS GOVERNOR
Lt General K T Parnaik, Northern Army Commander, briefed N N Vohra, Governor, in detail about yesterday’s incident on the LoC at Mankot sector in Mendhar are of Poonch district in which two soldiers were killed and two others injured.
It is likely that a further meeting in regard to this very important matter shall take place between the Governor and the Army Commander in the next few days, an official handout said.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 9 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 9 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 10 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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