New Delhi: The killing of five Indian soldiers by the Pakistan Army along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir has put bilateral talks under cloud. Sources told CNN-IBN that secretary-level talks between the two sides are unlikely now.
But Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's proposed dialogue with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York in September is not ruled out, the sources said. But Singh will meet Sharif only if Pakistan takes steps to make the atmosphere conducive, the sources added.
Indo-Pak peace celebrations at the Sindh-Rajasthan border on August 14 too have been cancelled after Tuesday's incident on the LoC.
Sharif, however, said on Thursday that he is looking forward to meeting Singh in New York to discuss steps to build trust and improve bilateral ties. He expressed "sadness" over the killings and said: "It is imperative for India and Pakistan to take effective steps to ensure and restore ceasefire on the LoC."
Five Indian soldiers were killed by Pakistani troops along the LoC in the Poonch sector, sparking outrage in India. The killings resonated in Parliament, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gunning for Defence Minister A K Antony over his statement that was seen as giving a "clean chit" to the Pakistan Army.
Antony made a fresh statement in Parliament on Thursday, saying "specialist troops of the Pakistan Army were involved in the attack" and a "group from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir side crossed the LoC and killed" the Indian soldiers.
Pakistan has denied its troops were involved in the killings.
(With additional information from PTI)