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Ex-Pak army general blames LeT for killing of two Indian soldiers

Updated: January 9, 2013, 10:50 AM IST
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Ex-Pak army general blames LeT for killing of two Indian soldiers
Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said India would wait for a direct response from Pakistan, adding it can't be business as usual.

New Delhi: 8:45 pm: Former Pakistan Army General Talat Masood has denied the role of the army in the killing of Indian soldiers, saying "Jihadis like Lashkar-e-Toiba could be behind the attack". He further claimed that the Pakistani army is not backing militants.

6:09 pm: Reacting to the denial of ceasefire violation by Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has said that India will still wait for a direct response from the neighbour.

Pointing that India did not want to engage Pakistan publicly, the Foreign Minister said, "We want to exhaust all standard procedures first."

He further said that the bilateral process between India and Pakistan would not be derailed for one incident, adding, "I can't specify what India can do diplomatically...we have communicated our concern in no uncertain terms to Pakistan."

He also said that though the act of Pakistan retarded "our movement", India could not act in haste.

5:13 pm: Pakistan Ambassador to India, Salman Bashir, has reiterated that the country did not violate ceasefire or cross the Line of Control (LoC) at any point of time.

Pointing that a Pakistani post was attacked on January 6 wherein a soldier had died, Bashir said that though the matter was raised by the Foreign Ministry, Pakistan had refrained from going to the media.

4:00 pm: Even as Pakistan denied any hand, Defence Minister AK Antony said there was clear evidence that Pakistan was behind the killing of two Indian soldiers - Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh. "The way they treated Indian soldiers is inhuman. We are already in the process of taking on the Pakistani government, our DGMO is talking his counterpart. The government of India is co-ordinating with all stakeholders and closely monitoring all the developments.

3:00 pm: Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has denied Pakistan's hand in the killings of Indian soldiers. Speaking to CNN-IBN, she said Pakistan is ready for a third party to verify their claims if 'India doesn't believe in our enquiry'. She also told CNN-IBN that Pakistan has completed its investigation.

2:30 pm: Pakistan's Director General of Military Operations spoke to his Indian counterpart over the telephone and denied that Pakistani troops killed Indian soldiers.

2:00 pm: Reacting to the killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said, "We have conveyed that this is unacceptable, our intent has been conveyed very clearly." "We cannot allow for escalation of an unwholesome incident," Khurshid added.

1:40 pm: India has lodged a protest against the killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops in Poonch. The Ministry of External Affairs in a statement said, "Regular Pakistan troops crossed the Line of Control at Mendhar sector and engaged the Indian troops who were patrolling this sector. Two Indian soldiers were killed in the attack and their bodies subjected to barbaric and inhuman mutilation."

The MEA also said that the government of Pakistan has been asked to investigate the matter. "The Government of Pakistan was asked to immediately investigate these actions that are in contravention of all norms of international conduct and ensure that these do not recur," the MEA statement said.

"Foreign Secretary recalled that the experts of both countries had met in New Delhi on December 27, 2012 to discuss conventional CBMs, wherein maintaining the sanctity of the LOC, one of the most important CBMs between the two countries, was emphasized," the statement added.

1:00 pm: Congress leader Rashid Alvi said Pakistan seemed to testing India's patience with incidents like the killing of Indian soldiers in Poonch. "We want good relations with Pakistan but such incidents keep happening. This raises serious doubts about Pakistan's intentions. It appears that Pakistan is testing our patience," Alvi said.

12:30 pm: Pakistan High Commissioner Salman Bashir has reached the Ministry of External Affairs and was meeting Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai. India will register a strong protest against the killing of two Indian soldiers - Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh - by Pakistani troops.

12 noon: Defence Minister AK Antony and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the ceasefire violation and killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops in Poonch.

11:55 am: The killing of two Indian soldiers in Poonch by Pakistani troops is being seen to be the handiwork of Pakistani border action team, according to sources in the India Army. Sources also say that the attack was clearly in retaliation to the alleged killing of Pakistani soldiers in Haji Pir area on Sunday.

Sources say the Baloch battalion provided local intelligence and ground support. The teams are strike teams and highly trained. Pakistani villagers living along the LOC were probably used as cover, sources added.

11:30 am: Kargil war hero Captain Saurabh Kalia's father Dr NK Kalia said the Poonch incident wouldn't have happened had India taken action after his son's death. "It's become a habit for Pakistan to do whatever they want. I would just like to say that if India had taken action after Captain Kalia's death, this wouldn't have happened again," Dr NK Kalia said.

10:50 am: Reacting to the ceasefire violation by Pakistan, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitley said the Indian government should now deal with Pakistan cautiously. "Indian Government should now deal with Pakistan very cautiously, red lines should be drawn," Jaitley said.

"The gruesome way in which the Pakistani Army killed the two Indian soldiers is a warning to India," Jaitley added.

10:35 am: Defence Minister AK Antony on Wednesday said that the killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops was highly provocative. "The way in which the Indian soldiers' bodies were treated is inhuman," Antony added. He also said that India will register a strong protest against the ceasefire violation by Pakistan.

India has summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Salman Bashir to lodge a protest over the brutal killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani Army troops. Sources say the External Affairs Ministry, Defence Ministry and Intelligence agencies are assessing the situation. Sources say that the response from the Indian side will be measured as Indian officials see value in the India-Pakistan dialogue process.

Pakistani soldiers had attacked an Indian army patrol in Poonch. One of the dead soldiers' bodies was found to be mutilated.

India has reacted strongly to the ceasefire violation and killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid called it 'inhuman' and 'ghastly'. "It is Absolutely Unacceptable, seems like a clear attempt to derail dialogue. Ghastly incident. This is inhuman. Extremely Myopic by Pakistan. This is not how civilized people behave, specially a neighbour. Extremely distressing. We need answers from Pakistani side. We will take it up," Khurshid said.

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari tweeted, "Pakistan must respect rules of engagement and the ceasefire agreement. How can we tolerate mutilation of our braves. Redlines must be drawn." Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also tweeted, "Violation of the cease fire is bad enough, to resort to mutilating soldiers is unacceptable in any civilised society."

Calling it a provocative action, the Defence Ministry in a statement said, "The government of India considers the incident as a provocative action and we condemn it. DGMOs the two countries are in touch over it. The government will take up the incident with the Pakistan government. We expect Islamabad to honour the ceasefire agreement strictly."

In a major escalation to the ceasefire violations and infiltration attempts, a group of Pakistan Army soldiers raided across the Line of Control in Mendhar Sector and killed two Indian soldiers and injured one more. The Pakistani troops attacked an area domination patrol party of the Indian Army. In the ensuing gunfight two Indian soldiers were killed and the body of one of them was mutilated by the intruders.

In a statement, the Army said, "A group of their regular soldiers intruded across the Line of Control in the Mendhar Sect on 08 Jan 2013. Pakistan 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 fire fight between Pakistan and own troops continued for approximately half an hour after which the intruders retreated back towards their side of Line of Control."

Reacting upon the Poonch incident, Pakistan military officials denied that the attack had been uprovoked. The Ministry of External Affairs, however, hit back, saying, "We deny that Indian forces violated the ceasefire and did infiltration. The sanctity of ceasefire on LoC should be upheld."

In last about one month, Pakistan Army has violated the ceasefire agreement nearly a dozen times. Most of these firing incidents were in Rajouri, Uri and Keran sector to help infiltration attempts, Army officials said.

Incidents of ceasefire violation by Pakistan:

There have been several incidents of ceasefire violation by Pakistan since 2010. In 2010, there were 44 incidents of violations, while in 2011, there were 51 incidents. In 2012, the number went up to 71. In fact, since December 1, 2012, there have been 12 incidents of ceasefire violation.

(With additional information from PTI)

First Published: January 9, 2013, 10:50 AM IST
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