New Delhi: On a day when Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh warned of retaliation at the Line of Control, Pakistan continued to deny decapitating any Indian soldier's body and maintained that India was blowing things out of proportions. This came even as former Indian diplomats and Army chiefs claim that Pakistan's actions are tantamount to a war crime.
Speaking to IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, Retired Pakistan Air Vice Marshal Abid Rao said, "First of all, if what you have said is right, I condemn it. The statements given by your Army Chief and your Air Chief...they are blowing the issue beyond proportion. These things can be settled in local flag meeting. Don't blow it out of proportion where public sentiment is also blown up to an extent where people are talking about revenge."
Former Indian diplomat KC Singh replied saying, "To say that we have blown it out of proportion is wrong. It is not a simple death. It's a question of an intruder coming in and committing what is tantamount to war crime."
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.
Oppn will be kept in loop, PM assures Sushma and Jaitley
Under pressure over the beheading of the Indian soldier, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh spoke to Opposition leaders Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj on Monday evening. He assured them that the Opposition would be kept in loop over the situation.
He told them that National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon would brief them on Tuesday on the developments on the LoC where tension prevails ever since Indian soldier Lance Naik Hemraj was beheaded in an attack by Pakistani soldiers on January 8.
Sources said Singh told Jaitley, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, that nothing was being done which could not be communicated to the Opposition leaders.
He said the Opposition would be kept in loop over the situation and appealed to them that the issue should not be politicised.
Lance Naik Hemraj Singh's family calls off fast
Meanwhile, the wife and mother of Lance Naik Hemraj - who was beheaded by Pakistani forces called off their four day fast on Monday. 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.