New Delhi/Islamabad: In what comes as a positive development with regard to the escalating tension between India and Pakistan, the neighbour has asked its troops to maintain ceasefire strictly and exercise restraint at the Line of Control (LoC), even as the Indian Army denied crossing the LoC, claiming that Pakistani soldier might have been killed in retaliatory fire from our side.
In a meeting of the Directorate General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of the two countries, the Pakistani DGMO confirmed that orders had been passed to troops to observe ceasefire and exercise restraint at the LoC. Also, the DGMOs of the two countries agreed not to allow situation to escalate.
This came hours after Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh rejected Pakistan's allegations that the Indian Army violated ceasefire and killed a Pakistani soldier. "Pakistan is wrong in alleging that their soldier has died in firing at the Line of Control. If their soldier has died, he must have died in retaliatory fire. Our soldiers do not cross the LoC. In a ceasefire violation, we fire when they fire," General Singh said.
The Pakistani army had claimed that Indian troops killed a Pakistani soldier in Kashmir. The soldier was killed at a position called Kundi during firing from the Indian side that began at 10 pm, Pakistan's army said in a statement.
Meanwhile, sources said that Indo-Pakistan Trade Ministers' meet had been ruled out. Pakistan Commerce Minister was earlier invited to attend the Global Business Meet in Agra on January 27. However, sources said that as a fallout of the ceasefire violations at the LoC and the tension between the two countries, the Pakistan Trade Minister was unlikely to attend the meet. According to sources, the prevailing situation was not conducive for trade talks.
Amidst these developments, terming the mutilation and beheading of Indian soldiers by the Pakistani troops as horrific, Union Commerce and Industries Minister Anand Sharma said that the actions of Pakistan were unacceptable and highly provocative. He further said, "This is for Pakistan to realise where the well-being of the economies of the countries lies."
Pointing that the current environment between the two countries was not favourable for enhancing economic ties, the Union Minister said, "Economic engagement can be enhanced in an environment of peace and stability. And anything which undermines that environment is not conducive."
However, Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar hit back at India, accusing it of war mongering. Addressing mediapersons on the issue, Khar said, "We see three incidents at the LoC and we see war mongering, which puts the last 60 years actively back to our memories...war mongering coming in from the other side of the border which I thought was the thing of yesteryears and what we had put behind us."
The Pakistani foreign minister further said that the dialogue process between the two countries should not be interrupted, a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said it could not be "business as usual" with Pakistan any more.
Amidst this war of words between the two countries, India raised the issue at the United Nations as well, saying the international community could not afford selective approaches in dealing with terrorism.
Hardeep Puri, India's representative to the UN issued a statement: "The international community cannot afford selective approaches in dealing with terrorist groups or in dismantling the infrastructure of terrorism... Resort to the use of terrorism as an instrument of State Policy is short-sighted. Those who have taken recourse to it have invariably themselves suffered immensely from it."
Meanwhile, India released more proof against Pakistan Army. The Indian Army released pictures of Pakistani landmines found on the Indian side of the LoC. These are mines manufactured at the Pakistan Ordinance Factory. These are anti-personnel mines. The pictures were given to the Pakistan counterparts during the flag meet on Monday.