Agencies, New Delhi
Commenting for the first time on the January 8 beheading of two Indian Army Jawans by Pakistani troops, Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh today described the attack as “unpardonable, unacceptable” and warned of aggressive retaliation if provoked again.
Addressing a press conference here on the eve of the Army day, Gen Bikram Singh said the January 6 incident of ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Mendhar sector of Jammu region in Jammu and Kashmir was pre-planned and pre-meditated by Pakistan and India reserved the right to retaliate at the time and place of its choosing.
“Beheading (of Lance Naik Hemraj) is unacceptable and unpardonable,” the Army chief said and added that the attack was carried out by Pakistan army personnel.
He, however, said Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists could also have been involved. Pakistani troops killed and beheaded two Indian Jawans and took away the head of one of them Lance Naik Hemraj.
The Army Chief charged Pakistan with violating the ceasefire which has been in place since November 2003 and said the January 8 attack was stage-managed and pre-planned by Pakistan.
He said India would uphold the ceasefire as long as Pakistan did and it was now upto Pakistan to maintain it.
“They (Pakistan) have planted lies to justify what they have done,” he said.
Gen Singh said while the issue was being taken up with Pakistan at government and military levels, Army commanders had been directed to respond if provoked.
“India reserves its right to retaliate at the time and place of its choice. We won’t remain passive when attacked…” he added.
He ruled out a full-fledged war with Pakistan saying there were indications that Pakistan would not up the ante.
India, Pakistan hold flag meeting
Agencies, Jammu: A day after Pakistan continued firing at Indian posts in Poonch, both India and Pakistan today held Brigadier level flag meeting along the Line of Control in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Indian delegation at the flag meeting this afternoon was led by the 10 ‘Krishnaghati’ Brigade commander Brigadier TS Sandhu.
“The meeting took place at Chakkan-da-Bagh point on the LoC in Poonch district,” official sources here said adding that various issues related to cross border terrorism and ceasefire violations were discussed in the meeting.
India had been seeking a brigadier-level meeting to discuss escalating tensions on the LoC but Pakistan, which had called for a UN probe into the incidents, responded only on Sunday.
Pakistani troops last night opened fresh fire at Indian border posts in Jammu and Kashmir.
Army chief Gen Bikram Singh today warned that India’s military will retaliate aggressively in case of any further provocation.
Take stern action against Pak: Shivraj
Staff Reporter, Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today said that the Congress-led Centre should take the killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani Army seriously.
“No amount of criticism can suffice the dastardly act of killing two Indian soldiers. Stern action should be taken so that it is realised that no country can harm our nation,” said Mr Chouhan while inaugurating 17th IES Inter-Press Cricket Tournament here. Observing that the whole country was boiling with anger over the incident, he said that the nation’s pride has been hurt. The Centre must provide a fitting response as former premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee did during Kargin intrusion.
Speaking about ‘googly’ being planned to outsmart him during assembly polls scheduled to take place toward this year’s end, Mr Chouhan said that he was ready to smash the Congress ‘googly’ over the boundary claiming that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party will score on the basis of development works carried out by it.
Over whether anyone from his team should retire like Sachin Tendulkar retired from cricket recently, he quipped that nobody in his team needed to retire.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister displayed good batting on the bowling of Public Relations Minister Laxmikant Sharma.
Tournament director Ramkrishna Yaduvanshi said that league matches will be played among eight teams from two groups in ‘Elite Group’. Two top-placed teams from both groups will take part in semi-finals. More than 16 teams are taking part in the tournament ‘Plate Group’ that will be on knockout basis. The first match will be played tomorrow.