NEW DELHI: Ahead of the NSA-level talks between the two countries next week, India on Sunday summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit to express “anger” over ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir in which six people died.
Basit was summoned to South Block by secretary-east Anil Wadhwa who conveyed India’s strong protest on the issue. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar was out of town, accompanying Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his UAE visit.
The Ministry of External Affairs said the Pakistani envoy was “conveyed our anger at the unprovoked firing by Pakistani troops since August 8, particularly with regard to the incidents of yesterday and today in Poonch that saw the systematic targeting of our civilian population and the use of high
caliber weapons”. The use of the word ‘anger’ in a diplomatic communique is notable, indicating that India is escalating its concern.
Whenever the issue of unprovoked firing had been raised at the DGMO level, Pakistani military officials had given assurances that “firings would stop and their troops would be instructed accordingly. But in fact the firings have continued up until today”, noted the MEA press communique.
“Secretary (East) conveyed that the Pakistan government needed to take steps to ensure that the Pakistan military does not undermine peace and tranquility along the IB and Line of Control,” it added.
The framing of the sentence seemed to indicate that India felt the Pakistani military was acting independently in ‘undermining’ peace along the border. It means India sees no reason yet for the NSA-level talks to not take place on August 23-24, since New Delhi will be engaging with the “Pakistan government”.
After the 15-minute-long meeting in South Block, Basit said Pakistan is concerned about ceasefire violations. “We are obviously very concerned about it. Our side would like to have a more effective mechanism in place to determine who indulges in these unprovoked firing incidents,” he said.