NEW DELHI: Conveying its serious concerns over mutilation of two of its soldiers in Krishna Ghati sector, close to the Line of Control on Monday, the Indian Army on Tuesday told Pakistan that its action merits “unequivocal condemnation and response.” Conveying this stern message, Indian Director General Military Operations (DGMO)informed his Pakistani counterpart that “full fire” support was provided by Pakistan Army during the attack on the Indian patrol. Incidentally, local commanders of both armies had talked to each other on Monday night.
Top military leadership here in national capital is simultaneously apprehensive about the timing the brutal attack, as track-two diplomacy was initiated by Indian industrialist Sajjan Jindal to bring back both India and Pakistan on discussion table. Only last week, Jindal, known to have close links with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's family, had met Sharif in Islamabad to initiate dialogue with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, as no bilateral talks happened between the two neighbours after Uri attack in last September.
"Whenever civilian government makes any effort to initiate dialogue, the Pakistan's 'powerful' military intervenes to disrupt it. After reports of negations started to bring two neighbours on talking terms, Pakistan army planned the attack," said a senior official. Moreover, military sources also claim that official level meetings have also started for this year’s SAARC summit, scheduled to take place in Islamabad. Last year, after India refused to attend to go Islamabad for SAARC summit after Uri attack, the summit was cancelled.
However today, denying any role, Pakistan DGMO Major General Shahir Shamshad asked Indian DGMO Lt General A K Bhatt to provide “actionable” evidence about the cross-border raid and warned of appropriate response if India continued to target Pakistan Army posts along the Line of Control(LOC). The two DGMOs talked to each other on the hotline in the afternoon following a request made by India. The two high ranking officials, generally, hold parleys on every Wednesday as part of confidence building measure.
Giving details of the talks, officials said here Bhatt expressed grave concern over the incident in Krishna Ghati Sector opposite Battal in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir(POK) wherein Pakistan Army targeted Indian patrol on Indian side of LOC and mutilated bodies of two soldiers.
The Pakistani DGMO was also apprised that while undertaking this “dastardly” act “full fire” support was provided by Pakistani Army post located in vicinity of the incident site. Bhatt also expressed concerns regarding presence of Border Action Team (BAT) training camps and teams of Pakistan Army in close vicinity of LOC in POK.
A BAT including militants and commandos of Special Services Group(SSG) infiltrated at least 250 metres inside LOC on Monday and mutilated the bodies of two Indian soldiers while the Pakistan Army was providing them covering fire. The Indian DGMO also conveyed that such “inhuman” act is beyond any norms of civility and merits unequivocal condemnation and response.
Rejecting India’s concerns over mutilation, Pakistan Army termed these allegations as “baseless and unfounded.” The Pakistan Army in a statement issued from Rawalpindi also claimed no cease fire violations took place in the Krishna Ghati sector and no crossing the LOC by its troops.
Pakistan military officials also said the DGMO also highlighted that Pakistan Army is professional and upholds the highest standards of conduct. Allegations of mutilation are an attempt by India to divert the attention of the world from the situation within the valley(Kashmir), he said. Pakistan also cautioned that any “misadventure” shall be appropriately responded at a place and time of own choosing.
Determined to avenge the death of two soldiers, the Indian Army, meanwhile, was targeting the Pakistan Army posts in Rawalakote(POK) located across the LOC in Krishna Ghati sector with small and medium arm fire, officials said here on Tuesday. Any major action in the future will be well thought out and the Army will give suitable response to this provocation by Pakistan, they said adding the firing in Krishna Ghati sector will continue for some days. They, however, admitted that Pakistan is in advantageous position there due to terrain as its Army is dominating all the high points in the semi-mountainous and forested terrain.
Meanwhile, the army chief Gen Bipin Rawat visited the frontier areas in North Kashmir and interacted with commanders and troops deployed along the Line of Control (LC). Accompanied by the Northern Army and Srinagar based Chinar Corps Commanders, the Army Chief was briefed by Formation Commanders on the security situation on the border and measures instituted to strengthen the security posture besides overall operational and logistical preparedness."Army Chief impressed upon all to remain vigilant and thwart any misadventure from across especially now as the summer sets in," said a senior official.During his interaction with troops, the General reassured them that the entire nation stood behind its soldiers in their brave endeavours to safeguard country’s sovereignty and integrity and maintain peace in the Valley.
On the other side, opposition took an opportunity to target the PM Modi government.Former Defence Minister AK Antony slammed Centre, saying the number of incidents of mutilation of Indian soldiers has increased since Modi regime took over in 2014. “During my time in eight years, it happened only once but in last three years it has already happened thrice,” Antony told reporters, adding the government must give “free hand” to Army to handle the situation in Kashmir in its own way.
Antony's party colleauge Kapil Sibal alleged the Centre had no concrete policy vis-a-vis Pakistan. Sibal said, “During the UPA government, a woman MP (Smriti Irani) had then asked if bangles should be sent to Manmohan Singh. That MP, who is now a minister, will she send bangles to Narendra Modi?”
Taking dig at the PM Modi, Sibal said, “What kind of a Prime Minister and what kind of a government is this when it knows that Pakistan will not mend its ways. They call the ISI to Pathankot. They go to Pakistan to spend someone’s birthday when that country has nothing but hate for India. PM should understand that he should have no expectations from Pakistan and there is no need for hugs and celebrating birthdays.”