New Delhi: Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh hit out strongly at Pakistan over the killing of two Indian soldiers and continuous ceasefire violation. He warned Pakistan that the Indian Army will retaliate to Pakistan's attack. "I have given very categorical directions to the Northern Command. When we are provoked we shall respond immediately. I expect my commanders to be aggressive in the face of firing. We will retaliate to Pakistan's attack at a place and time of our choosing," General Bikram Singh said.
Talking tough against Pakistan, General Bikram Singh rejected Pakistan's claims of an Indian operation at the Line of Control killing one soldier. "No operation was carried out by the Indian Army on January 6 as claimed by Pakistan," General Bikram Singh said.
He called the killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistan 'gruesome' and 'unpardonable' and said beheading the soldier was unacceptable. "This incident has had strategic nuances, beheading our soldiers is not acceptable. The act was against ethics and principles of rules of engagement," General Singh said. He added that India will register a strong protest at the flag meet of the two countries.
General Bikram Singh also said that Pakistan Army's attack in Mendhar was pre-planned.
The long awaited flag meeting between Indian and Pakistani commanders in the Poonch sector will take place on Monday afternoon. India had requested for the Brigadier-level flag meet in an attempt to ease the tension at the India-Pakistan border.
Both sides are likely to exchange notes detailing ceasefire violations by either side and formal protests will be lodged against the ceasefire violations. It is expected that after the meeting is over, firing will cease in the Poonch area at least for a while.
However, Pakistan is unlikely to give any commitment on ending infiltration, which is the main reason for the firing. The issue of resuming border trade from Chakan-da-Bagh is uncertain as there's no assurance from Pakistan on that yet.
Two Indian soldiers - Lance Naik Hemraj Singh and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh were killed on the border in Poonch by the Pakistani troops last week, an attack which has resulted in the outbreak of one of the worst violence across the India-Pakistan border since the two neighbours declared ceasefire.