India, Pakistan agree to deescalate situation

Armies Asked To Respect Ceasefire, Exercise Restraint

PRESS TRUST OF INDIA

New Delhi, Jan 16: Top military commanders of India and Pakistan Wednesday agreed not to allow escalation of tensions along the Line of Control (LoC) with the Pakistan Army asking its troops to observe ceasefire strictly and exercise restraint.
The ways to defuse the tension on the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir, which was triggered by alleged brutal killing of two Indian soldiers by the Pakistan Army, were discussed during a telephonic conversation between the Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) of the two sides.
The Army here said the talks lasted for 10 minutes starting 10.00 AM and during this there was also an understanding not to allow the situation to escalate. Pakistan Army DGMO conveyed that orders have been passed to troops to strictly observe the ceasefire and exercise restraint, the Army Headquarters said.
Meanwhile, in Islamabad, the state-run Pakistan Radio claimed the country's DGMO lodged a strong protest with his Indian counterpart over killing of a Pakistani soldier. Earlier in the day, Army chief Gen Bikram Singh rejected Pakistani allegations that Indian troops had crossed the LoC and indulged in unprovoked firing, saying any casualty on the other side may have been due to retaliatory firing.
“Our soldiers don't cross LoC. We honor human rights. We fire in retaliation when provoked,” he said in Khairiar in Uttar Pradesh after meeting the family of Lance Naik Hemraj who was beheaded by Pakistani soldiers in a cross-LoC attack in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir on January 8.
Responding to the Pakistani charge that one of its soldiers was killed in “unprovoked firing” along the LoC, the Army chief said it may have happened during cross-firing.
“These are normal activities that take place at the LoC. We have retaliated in response to cross-firing,” he said.
Replying to questions, Singh said “the relationship (between the two countries) is got to be seen on what has been going on at the border".
The Pakistan Army had alleged Indian troops had violated the ceasefire along the LoC late last night and "carried out unprovoked firing" in Hotspring and Jandrot sectors.
On the possibility of getting back the head of Hemraj, which was taken away by Pakistani soldiers, the Army chief said efforts are being made to get it back.
Singh, however, refused to respond to Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar's statement that the Indian Army chief's comments were "provocative", saying he was yet to read the statement.
He met the family of Hemraj and offered his condolences. He assured them that all their requirements will be met.
Meanwhile, the three Services chiefs met in the evening to discuss issues including the construction of a national war memorial at India Gate and the setting up of a national defence university at Gurgaon near here.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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