Agencies, New Delhi
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Tuesday there could be no “business as usual” with Pakistan after a clash last week along the line dividing the arch-rivals in Kashmir in which two Indian soldiers were killed and their bodies mutilated.
Speaking to reporters at a ceremony to mark India’s Army Day, Singh said that the killings on January 8 on the Line of Control were a “barbaric act”.
His remarks come after army chief Bikram Singh said India reserved the right to retaliate at a time and place of its choosing and he had instructed his ground commanders to be aggressive in the face of provocation.
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 between the nuclear-armed neighbours was highly unlikely.
Singh has been pushing for a rapprochement with Pakistan, despite opposition not only from the main rival political party but also from within his ruling coalition.
But an official quoted him as saying on Tuesday there could not be “business as usual” after the attacks on the border.
Both armies have lost two soldiers each in the fighting along parts of the 740-km (460-mile) de facto border this month.
One of the Indian soldiers killed last week was decapitated provoking outrage in the country and demands of retribution including from his family which wanted the severed head of the soldier back.
Pakistan has dismissed the Indian allegations as propaganda and instead accused India of violating the ceasefire in Kashmir, cause of two of three wars between the neighbours.
BSP chief Mayawati, whose party is extending outside support to the ruling UPA at the Centre, today said her party was opposed to going to war with Pakistan as the only way to resolve any dispute.
Attacking the UPA Government for its foreign policy “failures” regarding its neighbouring countries, and increasing violations of ceasefire by Pakistan, she, however, said there was still room for peaceful resolution of dispute.
When asked whether she was in favour of suspending sports and cultural ties with Pakistan in the wake of the killing of two Indian soldiers and brutalising of their bodies by their Army during a ceasefire violation on January 8, Ms Mayawati said there was no need of any haste in doing that unless “we reach any decision.” War was not the only way to resolve border dispute, she said answering a question at a press conference here.
The former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister said the Government’s wrong policies were responsible for the present tension on the border.
Today the country’s borders were not safe as there was continued infiltration of terrorists and frequent violation of ceasefire, which had resulted in the death of two soldiers last week, she said.
Tensions between the two countries had escalated following the January 8 incident with New Delhi warning Pakistan of serious consequences of such incident, and there were calls from various quarters, including the Opposition BJP, for retaliation by India.