New Delhi: Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh on Monday sent a tough message to Pakistan, saying that it should follow the ethics of engagement, returned the remains of the beheaded Indian soldier and be prepared for retaliation if India is provoked. General Singh has even claimed that the Pakistani attacks on the two Indian soldiers were pre-planned. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also stepped in, reassuring the opposition that justice will be done.
However, the Pakistan Army claimed that its troops did not kill Indian soldiers, and lodged its counter protest about ceasefire violations even as General Singh sent a tough tactical message.
The one-hour flag meeting was preceded by some tough talk by the Indian Army Chief who described the beheading of an Indian soldier as unacceptable and said he had asked his commanders to strike back if Pakistan continued to violate the ceasefire. The Indian Army team for the flag meeting at Chakan-da-Bagh Crossing Point along the LoC in Poonch district was led by 10th Brigade (Krishnaghati Brigade) Commander Brigadier TS Sandhu.
Earlier, General Singh warned Pakistan against any misadventure along the LoC, saying that all commanders have the full backing of the Army hierarchy and they need to maintain an aggressive stance.
Meanwhile, the wife and mother of Lance Naik Hemraj - who was beheaded by Pakistani forces have now called off their four day fast, The decision come after the army chief promised to visit them. Also, Compensation of Rs 46 lakh was announced by the army and central government while Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, BJP leaders and other politicians visited the family.
The aggressive press conference by the Army Chief has put the Centre in a tight spot as it is really struggling to come up with a credible response to the allegations that it has been weak-kneed in its response to the killing of two Indian soldiers. Public outrage and political pressure to act against Pakistan is only growing with every passing day and there is a view in government circles that the Army has not been helpful in this regard.
Eyebrows have also been raised about the one-and-a-half hour long press conference by the Indian Army Chief General which was largely devoted to the tensions with Pakistan and questions are being asked in government circles about the way the Army publicly disclosed details of the gruesome killings. The government feels emotions cannot dictate policy responses, particularly as it takes a larger view of ties with Pakistan, in the context of Islamabad's internal dynamics and in the context of the evolving situation in Afghanistan.