Pakistan protests to India over ceasefire violations
15 January, 2013
RAWALPINDI: Pakistan has lodged a strong protest during a flag meeting between Pakistani and Indian military officials on continuous cease-fire violations, including an attempted raid by Indian troops on the LoC, in the last week, in which two Pakistani soldiers were martyred.
An ISPR statement stated that a Brigadier-Level Flag Meeting was held at Chakan da Bagh in Poonch Sector on the LoC on Monday.
Pakistan strongly protested with Indian military authorities about continuous ceasefire violations, including an attempted raid by Indian troops on the LoC during the last week in which two Pakistani soldiers, Havaldar Ghulam Mohyuddin and Naik Muhammad Aslam embraced martyrdom, while one soldier, Sepoy Waseem, was injured.
During the flag meeting, Pakistan strongly rejected the Indian allegations that Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked fire, attacked any Indian post or killed Indian soldiers.
Earlier, India's army chief threatened to retaliate against Pakistan for the killing of two soldiers in fighting near the border of the disputed region of Kashmir, saying he had asked his commanders there to be aggressive in the face of provocation.
General Bikram Singh's remarks come amid mounting public anger in India after Delhi accused Pakistani soldiers of slitting the throat of one of the soldiers and decapitating him. Despite each side blaming the other for the worst outbreak of violence in the area since a ceasefire was agreed nine years ago, analysts said a breakdown in ties was highly unlikely.
Calling the beheading of the soldier "gruesome", Singh told a news conference, "We reserve the right to retaliate at a time and place of our choosing." Singh said the Indian army would honour the ceasefire in Kashmir, so long as Pakistan did, but would respond immediately to any violation of the truce. "I expect all my commanders at the Line of Control to be both aggressive and offensive in the face of provocation and fire," he said.
His remarks came hours before local commanders met at a crossing point on the ceasefire line for the first time since the fighting erupted to try and reduce tensions. Both sides lodged protests, accusing each other of ceasefire violations. The ceasefire in Kashmir has held since it went into effect in November 2003, surviving even the crisis in ties after the Mumbai attacks in November 2008.
Analysts said it was unlikely the two armies would escalate the situation further and that Singh's remarks may well have been made to maintain the morale of his troops and to respond to a public outcry over the mutilation of both soldiers' bodies. "He is trying to tell Pakistan that it cannot afford to open another front while it is in a very critical state because of a large number of internal issues," said research fellow Ashok K Behuria at the New Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis.
"He's under pressure from the Indian people and the media but I don't think that India will be so proactive as to respond disproportionately to the situation," Behuria said. The flare-up began on January 6 when Islamabad accused Indian soldiers of entering its territory and killing a soldier. India said Pakistani soldiers came about 600 metres into its territory two days later and killed two Indian soldiers on patrol, the attack the army chief was referring to. Pakistan said one of its soldiers was killed in further fighting on Thursday. And, at a flag meeting in Chakan da Bagh in the Poonch sector, Pakistan accused India of a raid across the ceasefire line last week, a Pakistani army statement said.