JAMMU/NEW DELHI - Tension continued to prevail along the Line of Control (LoC) between Pakistan and India on Saturday as both sides building up troops on the border, reported Times of India on Saturday, quoting intelligence intercepts.
Pakistan has so far not responded to requests from India and its army for a flag meeting at the brigade level to de-escalate tension along the LoC.
Indian intelligence intercepts reveal that the Pakistan Army has cancelled all leaves and ordered its troops to report for duty, reported TOI.
According to sources, Indian Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and the three services chiefs were likely to brief Defence Minister AK Antony soon on the latest situation prevailing along the LoC. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also been briefed on the tense border situation by National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon.
Indian officials said Saturday the Pakistan Army has not given any response to its Indian counterpart for a brigadier-level flag meeting to de-escalate tension along the Line of Control (LoC).
“We are still waiting (for a response),” an Indian army official said. He said there had not been exchange of fire Saturday.
Meanwhile, Indian Border Security Force (BSF) sources said a ‘routine’ border meeting between the field commanders of the force and Rangers was scheduled for January 16 on the Pakistani side at Munnabao border.
“This was postponed till February 20 this year by Pakistan Rangers. No specific reason was cited and this decision was conveyed to us on January 4,” they said.
Meanwhile, the Indian Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, on Saturday said India will be forced to consider other options, if ‘ceasefire violations’ continue from the Pakistan side.
The Indian Air Force chief expressed his grave concern over what he called continuous ceasefire violation and firing from the Pakistani side.
Browne said: “We have a line of control, we have a ceasefire agreement, we have certain mechanisms, we have certain structures and that is sacrosanct.”
“Any violation of these with impunity, especially as to what’s been happening in the last few months, is totally unacceptable. We are monitoring the situation very carefully because if these things continue the way they are and the violations continue to take place, then perhaps we may have to look at some other options for compliance.”
Separately, Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said Saturday the government will not buckle to ‘wild calls for revenge and reaction’ over the alleged killing of Indian troops.
In an interview to NDTV news channel, Khurshid said the heightened border tension “demands very responsible and sensible and moderate behaviour”.
“We’re not going to be pressurised by wild calls for revenge and reaction. We will do what is in the best interest of the country and peace, keeping in mind that there is a lot at stake.”
“And we hope there will be a similar approach from the other side,” he said, adding: “We shouldn’t really be lulled into believing that nothing went wrong.”
Asked if he believed the tense situation would taper off quickly, Khurshid said: “We hope we’ll both have the ability to contain and control while we continue to look at how we resolve the fundamental issue.”
Khurshid also hoped the anger over the killings and the demand for revenge would pass ‘and it must pass’. “It’s important that we do not allow anyone to play up to the media. Both sides have very active media and it’s important that the public face must remain restrained,” the minister added.
Border tensions between Pakistan and India have risen sharply since the July 6 death of a Pakistani soldier in firing by Indian forces along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.