The audacious killing of two Indian security men and mutilation of their bodies by Pakistani troops along the de facto border between the two countries in India’s Jammu and Kashmir state has sparked outrage and challenged New Delhi to walk its tough talk against cross-border terror.
Within hours of the despicable incident, which came less than 24 hours after Pakistan Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa visited the de facto border, India vowed to exact revenge for the mutilation of the bodies during the well-planned act which took place inside Indian territory. Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said that “such acts don’t take place even during war, let alone peace and warned of an appropriate response. “The martyrdom the two Indian troops will not go in vain,” he said.
The immediate reaction of the Indian army on the ground came in the form of heavy counter-fire across the Line of Control and army chief Gen Bipin Rawat’s visit to Srinagar, the capital of Jammu and Kashmir. In Delhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh met the security brass who briefed him about the ground situation in the state, especially in the border areas.
The attack on Naib Subedar Paramjit Singh and head constable Prem Sagar is certain to mount further pressure politically on the Narendra Modi government to walk its tough posture on security issues, coming as it does just after the recent massacre of 26 paramilitary personnel in central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, and the terror attack on an army camp in Kupwara last week that left an Indian army officer among three dead. The killing and mutilation of bodies was the third such macabre episode since the ‘surgical strikes’ against terror launch-pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on September 29 last year. The tough-on-terror plank was one of the main reasons for Modi-led Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party’s spectacular victory in national elections in 2014.
The surgical strikes were termed as a fitting response to Pakistan’s sponsorship of cross-border terror, but after the May 1 incident, the Modi government is already under attack by the opposition, which was reflected in severe condemnation by Congress and CPI(M) of the mutilation of the two troops. “Pakistan has been attacking India with impunity. When is PM Modi planning to show off his ’56 inch Chest’ to them & send them cowering?” Congress party said in a twitter post.
India-Pakistan ties are already in a deep chill following a series of terror attacks in India over the last one year. New Delhi has taken a strident stand, rejecting demands for resuming the dialogue process with Pakistan and had boycotted the SAARC Summit in November last year which led to its cancellation after all SAARC member-countries followed suit. If anything, the May 1 incident will contribute to further deterioration of relations between India and Pakistan.
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