Indian army chief threatens aggression against Pakistan
ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI (Agencies) – Amid tensions at the Line of Control over violation by Indian forces, Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh on Monday asked his ground commanders to be aggressive.Pakistan protested strongly the ceasefire violations committed by troops of the neighbouring country at a flag meeting held to discuss a recent flare-up and a fresh firing incident by Indian border forces which injured a Pakistani soldier.General Singh held out the threat of retaliating against Pakistan for the alleged killing of two soldiers at the de facto border in Kashmir.His strong remarks appeared set to ratchet up tensions further, although analysts said a breakdown in ties was highly unlikely.“I expect all my commanders at the Line of Control to be both aggressive and offensive in the face of provocation and fire,” he said. “The orders are very clear: when provoked, I expect my unit commanders should fire back.”A brigadier-level flag meeting was held at Chakan Da Bagh in Poonch sector on the LoC on Monday. Pakistan strongly protested with Indian military authorities about continuous ceasefire violations including an attempted raid by Indian troops on LoC during last week in which two Pakistani soldiers, Havaldar Ghulam Mohyuddin and Naik Muhammad Aslam embraced martyrdom while one soldier was injured,” an army statement said.“During the flag meeting, Pakistan strongly rejected the Indian allegations that Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked fire, attacked Indian post or killed Indian soldiers,” it added. Pakistan demanded a United Nations-led probe into the fresh skirmishes. During meeting, the Indian delegation was led by Brigadier TS Sandhu, according to Indian media.The spokesman said India also lodged its protest with Pakistan. Requesting anonymity, a brigadier in Pakistan Army told The Nation that both the armies had agreed to release tension and honour ceasefire following assurances from Indian army that it would abandon the bunker construction plan at the forward posts in Chondra village at the LoC, during the flag meeting. “It appeared that the matter was heading towards solution but this may not be the case,” he said commenting on the Indian army chief’s statement. “This has taken us by surprise. Everything was discussed and sorted out in the flag meeting,” the brigadier added referring to between the neighboring forces.While India accuses Pakistani troops of entering into Indian side of the LoC to behead two Indian soldiers, Pakistan alleges that the Indian troops crossed into Pakistani area and killed two soldiers in separate incidents of cross-border attacks.Indian army chief’s belligerent statement came in a press conference in which he termed the alleged beheading of the soldier as ‘gruesome’, India’s army chief told a news conference: “We reserve the right to retaliate at a time and place of our choosing.”Singh said the alleged attack which led to the ‘beheading’ must have been planned well ahead and reiterated the claim that it was the work of the Pakistani Army.“These kinds of operations require planning of at least 10-15 days. You have to observe the activities, arrange the logistics, firepower. You have to have a plan and practice it. No one would like to leave tell-tale signs,” he went on claiming.“The clockwork precision, detailed planning and execution... is indicative of premeditated and pre-planned action of Pakistan.”Singh said the ‘treatment’ meted out to the Indian soldiers last week was ‘an unpardonable act’ while adding that it should not lead to a breakdown in peace talks.“We want the Pakistani army to hand over the head of the soldier as soon as possible,” he said.“This incident has had strategic nuances, beheading our soldiers is not acceptable. The act was against ethics and principles of rules of engagement,” General Singh said. The Indian army chief also claimed that no operation at LoC was done by the Indian Army on January 6.“We want to keep the dialogue process on and also explore the best ways to communicate with Pakistan, but the attacks must stop,” Singh added.He said the Indian Army will fully back the actions of commanders at the Line of Control.Singh’s remarks which came hours before local commanders met at a crossing point on the ceasefire line for the first time since the fighting erupted to try and reduce tensions.Rejecting the allegations of unprovoked attack, Pakistan Army Monday said it strongly protested with the Indian authorities over the continuous ceasefire violations.Hours after Pakistan army commanders met their Indian counterparts,neighbouring country’s troops once again opened unprovoked firing at Battal Sector at LoC near Rawlakot injuring a man.Media reports said the Indian army opened unprovoked firing at Battal Sector but when the Pakistan Rangers returned fire, the Indian guns got silenced. The injured was admitted to hospital for medical treatment.