India summons Pak envoy over solders’ mutilation

Wednesday, January 09, 2013
United Nations map of the Line of Control between
India and Pakistan.
[Click on image to view large size] 

Jammu: India's Defense Minister has condemned what he called the Pakistani Army's treatment of two Indian soldiers who were killed along the Line of Control in Kashmir.

"The Pakistan Army's action is highly provocative," Union Defense Minister A.K. Anthony said in New Delhi. "The way they treated the dead bodies of the Indian soldiers is inhuman. We will convey our protest to the Pakistan government, and our [director-general of military operations] will talk to his counterpart in Pakistan. We are closely monitoring the situation."

Indian media reported one of the Indian soldiers killed on January 8 was beheaded and the second soldier had his throat cut.

Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid called the killing of the two soldiers "absolutely unacceptable, ghastly, and really terrible." He vowed a "proportionate" response but said the incident should not be "escalated" and allowed to derail efforts to improve relations with Islamabad.

India's External Affairs Ministry has reportedly summoned Pakistan's envoy to register a protest.

The two Indian soldiers were killed in a firefight with Pakistani troops as the two patrols ran into each other in foggy conditions. Indian officials say it took place several hundred meters inside India.

Pakistani Denials
India's former director of the Jammu and Kashmir police M. M. Khajuria said on January 8 that the incident represents renewed Pakistani military activity in the disputed region.

"Pakistan troops, along with militants, had sneaked into our territory. It reflects that they have upgraded their operations. I can see a major policy shift. In coming days, we need to be very alert on the border as well as at the diplomatic level," Khajuria said.

The inspector-general of the Jammu and Kashmir police, Dilbag Singh, downplayed the event but said his forces are taking extra precautions.

"We can't rule out such activities in certain areas," he said. "There is old history. It regularly happens. We need to beef up our security deployment in the border region."

Meanwhile, the Indian media reported the Pakistan military is denying its troops crossed the Line of Control into India.

There are regularly incidents along the 740-kilometer Line of Control that divides the two countries in Kashmir, but officials on both sides say these latest killings represent an escalation in tensions not seen since a cease-fire agreement was reached in 2003.

Copyright (c) 2013. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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