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Indo-Pak talks only after action against culprits of soldier killings, says govt

CNN-IBN
Jan 17, 2013 at 11:29am IST

New Delhi: A day after Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar invited her Indian counterpart Salman Khurshid for talks to defuse the LoC tension, India has said it will be possible only after those responsible for the barbaric killings of the two Indian soldiers are brought to book.

"The only problem that needs to be resolved is the inhuman behaviour of the Pakistan forces. Talks with Pakistan are possible only after Pakistan acts against those responsible for the barbaric act. The sentiment in India is extremely sensitive. Pakistan should understand the gravity and sensitivity of the situation," Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari said.

ALSO SEE To solve crisis, Pak, India ask troops to honour ceasefire; Khar offers talks

Meanwhile, sources say that the Cabinet could informally discuss Pakistan's offer of talks and Pakistan's internal situation as well. This comes after Khar invited Khurshid for talks saying a dialogue was the only solution to the LoC tension. In an interview to CNN, while Khar expressed disappointment over comments from Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, she said the country was open to a dialogue to de-escalate tensions.

"It was deeply disturbing and I say this with all honesty, for me to see such hostile comments coming in from all facets from the political leaders, from the military, the media. We would think the best way to deal with this instead of raising the rhetoric would be a political level discussion and I am open to have a dialogue with the External Affairs Minister of India," said Khar.

ALSO SEE Pak asks its troops to observe ceasefire strictly

"I invite him for that matter for a dialogue at the political level so that we can resolve the LoC issue and to ensure we continue to respect the ceasefire, which is absolutely crucial because if we start acting in this manner then we are going back into the history," she said in the interview.

Meanwhile, in the latest attempt by India and Pakistan to maintain peace along the LoC after more than a week of flared tensions, the Indian and Pakistani Director Generals of Military Operations spoke on the phone and have ordered troops to observe the ceasefire. Pakistan DGMO has told the troops to exercise restraint and they have also agreed not to allow the situation to escalate.

ALSO SEE Pak soldier killed in retaliatory fire: Army Chief

This came even as the Indian Army submitted proof of Pakistani mines found on Indian soil. 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.

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.

India and Pakistan resumed their dialogue process in early 2011 after a gap of over two years in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, which were blamed on the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba terror group.

The string of clashes along the LoC since January 6 marked the most serious violations of the ceasefire put in place in late 2003. The two sides have traded angry charges over the violations. The High Commissioners of both countries were summoned by the foreign ministries for lodging protests.

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