Tue, Jan 15, 2013 - Page 6 News List

Indian army chief orders ‘aggressive’ response to firing

AFP, NEW DELHI

The Indian Army’s chief of staff yesterday ordered an “aggressive” response to any cross-border firing by Pakistan as commanders from both sides met to discuss a recent deadly flare-up in the disputed Kashmir region.

“We expect our commanders to be aggressive,” Indian Army General Bikram Singh said ahead of the brigade-level talks along the de facto border in Kashmir known as the Line of Control (LOC).

“The orders are very clear: When provoked, I expect my unit commanders should fire back,” Singh added.

India says one of its soldiers was beheaded and another was killed by the Pakistani Army on Tuesday last week, an incident that has rocked an already fragile peace process.

Pakistan denies its troops were to blame for any such incident and says that two of its own soldiers were killed in the past eight days along the LOC, where a ceasefire has been in place since 2003.

Singh said the treatment of the Indian soldiers was “an unpardonable act.”

“We want the Pakistani Army to hand over the head of the soldier as soon as possible,” he said at a press conference in New Delhi. “We want to keep the dialogue process on and also explore the best ways to communicate with Pakistan, but the attacks must stop.”

The Indian general said the attack which led to the beheading must have been planned for up to two weeks and reiterated the claim that it was the work of the Pakistan Army.

“These kind of operations require planning of at least 10 [to] 15 days. You have to observe the activities, arrange the logistics, firepower. You have to have a plan and practice that plan. No one would like to leave tell-tale signs,” he said.

“The clockwork precision, detailed planning and execution ... is indicative of premeditated and pre-planned action of Pakistan,” Singh said.

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