NEW DELHI/JAMMU (IWN): In an act of cold-blooded savagery reminiscent of atrocities of the 1999 Kargil conflict, Pakistani army troops have brutally killed two Indian soldiers at the Line of Control that divides the two halves of Kashmir.
In an act of unprovoked firing, the Pakistani troops Jan 8 ambushed an Indian patrol party along the LoC in the Mendhar sector and managed to move inside the Indian territory in Jammu and Kashmir. Two Indian soldiers, Lance Naik Hemraj Singh and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh, were killed and two others wounded. Pakistani troops did not stop at the killing, but even beheaded one of the soldiers and flaunted the head as a trophy, said informed sources.
The incident has shocked India’s defence and foreign policy establishment and has put the revived peace process between India and Pakistan under strain.
“We have to make it known to Pakistan that this is unacceptable, ghastly… and extremely short-sighted on their part,” India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told NDTV, an Indian TV news channel. India’s response will be decided “after careful consideration of the details,” he said, adding: “The government will take steps that are meaningful and effective.”
In an unstinting condemnation, the Indian army described the attack as “a grave provocation by the Pakistan army.” “Pak army troops, having taken advantage of thick fog and mist in the forested area, were moving towards own posts when an alert area domination patrol spotted and engaged the intruders.” “The firefight between Pak and own troops continued for approximately half an hour after which the intruders retreated back towards their side of Line of Control,” said a statement by the Indian army.
The Pakistani Army was predictably in denial and even dismissive of India’s allegations of unprovoked firing. Rawalpindi described it as an “Indian propaganda to divert the attention of the world from Sunday’s raid on a Pakistani post by Indian troops in which a Pakistani soldier was killed.” India has rejected any violation the Line of Control or the ceasefire over the weekend.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.
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