New Delhi: India has summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Salman Bashir to lodge a protest over the brutal killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani Army troops. Sources say the External Affairs Ministry, Defence Ministry and Intelligence agencies are assessing the situation. Sources say that the response from the Indian side will be measured as Indian officials see value in the India-Pakistan dialogue process.
Pakistani soldiers had attacked an Indian army patrol in Poonch. One of the dead soldiers' bodies was found to be mutilated.
India has reacted strongly to the ceasefire violation and killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid called it 'inhuman' and 'ghastly'. "It is Absolutely Unacceptable, seems like a clear attempt to derail dialogue. Ghastly incident. This is inhuman. Extremely Myopic by Pakistan. This is not how civilized people behave, specially a neighbour. Extremely distressing. We need answers from Pakistani side. We will take it up," Khurshid said.
Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari tweeted, "Pakistan must respect rules of engagement and the ceasefire agreement. How can we tolerate mutilation of our braves. Redlines must be drawn." Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also tweeted, "Violation of the cease fire is bad enough, to resort to mutilating soldiers is unacceptable in any civilised society."
Calling it a provocative action, the Defence Ministry in a statement said, "The government of India considers the incident as a provocative action and we condemn it. DGMOs the two countries are in touch over it. The government will take up the incident with the Pakistan government. We expect Islamabad to honour the ceasefire agreement strictly."
In a major escalation to the ceasefire violations and infiltration attempts, a group of Pakistan Army soldiers raided across the Line of Control in Mendhar Sector and killed two Indian soldiers and injured one more. The Pakistani troops attacked an area domination patrol party of the Indian Army. In the ensuing gunfight two Indian soldiers were killed and the body of one of them was mutilated by the intruders.
In a statement, the Army said, "A group of their regular soldiers intruded across the Line of Control in the Mendhar Sect on 08 Jan 2013. Pakistan Army troops, having taken advantage of thick fog and mist in the forested area, were moving towards own posts when an alert area domination patrol spotted and engaged the intruders. The fire fight between Pakistan and own troops continued for approximately half an hour after which the intruders retreated back towards their side of Line of Control."
Reacting upon the Poonch incident, Pakistan military officials denied that the attack had been uprovoked. The Ministry of External Affairs, however, hit back, saying, "We deny that Indian forces violated the ceasefire and did infiltration. The sanctity of ceasefire on LoC should be upheld."
In last about one month, Pakistan Army has violated the ceasefire agreement nearly a dozen times. Most of these firing incidents were in Rajouri, Uri and Keran sector to help infiltration attempts, Army officials said.
(With additional information from PTI)