The Indian army’s chief of staff ordered an “aggressive” response Monday to any cross-border firing by Pakistan as commanders from both sides met to discuss a recent deadly flare-up in disputed Kashmir.
“The orders are very clear: when provoked, I expect my unit commanders should fire back,” Singh added. The Indian Army Chief today said, “What the Pakistani side did was unpardonable and gruesome.” He also said that there were no operations from the Indian side on January 6th as claimed by Pakistan
Also, commanders from India and Pakistan today met in a flag meeting at Chakan-da-Bagh in Poonch district at 1 pm. Pakistan had agreed to India’s proposal for a Brigade Commander-level meeting after four days. Ahead of the meeting, Army Chief Bikram Singh had sent out a tough message today and said if provoked, India will retaliate. But even after the flag meeting was agreed upon yesterday, the Indian Army reported fresh firing by Pakistan troops on Indian posts in the Nangitikri forward area in Poonch district. The Indian Army fired back.
India says one of its soldiers was beheaded and another was killed by the Pakistani army on January 8, an incident that has stirred the conscience of an already fragile peace process between the two sides.
Singh said the treatment of the Indian soldiers was “an unpardonable act”. “We want the Pakistani army to hand over the head of the soldier as soon as possible,” he said at a press conference in New Delhi.
“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. The general said the attack which led to the beheading must have been planned for up to a fortnight and reiterated the claim that it was the work of the Pakistan army.
The family of the decapitated soldier, Lance Naik Hemraj, has gone on a
hunger strike as part of a campaign to ensure that his severed head is returned.
“I want my husband’s complete body. He served the country and deserves
respect,” his wife Dharmvati told the Hindi-language Zee TV news channel.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority territory, is divided into Indian and
Pakistani-administered sectors but is claimed in full by both sides.
Islamabad accused Indian soldiers of entering its territory and killing a soldier on Jan 6.
Moreover, family members of the slain soldier, Hemraj Singh, have launched a hunger strike demanding retribution and that his severed head be back brought back.
Singh said the beheading was a “gruesome act” and against the ethics of soldiering. He said a strong protest had been lodged with Pakistani authorities through diplomatic channels.
“Our demand is not something big. My brother’s head should be brought back and the Pakistanis should be taught a lesson,” said Jai Singh in their village in northern India.
“The clockwork precision, detailed planning and execution… is indicative
of premeditated and pre-planned action of Pakistan.”
Pakistan denies its troops were to blame for any such incident and says that two of its own soldiers were killed in the last eight days along the LoC, where a ceasefire has been in place since 2003.
Pakistan has termed the Indian allegations as propaganda and blamed it for violations on the ceasefire line.