New Delhi, Jan 15: Days after two Indian soldiers were killed by Pakistani troops near the Line of Control (LoC), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh broke his silence on Tuesday saying that after the "barbaric act", there cannot be "business as usual" with the neighbouring country.
Speaking on the occasion of the 65th Army Day, the Prime Minister said that those responsible for killing and mutilating Indian soldiers should be brought to book. "What happened at the Line of Control is unacceptable," said Singh.
When asked about Pakistan being in denial over the ceasefire violation and killing of Indian soldiers, the Prime Minister expressed hope that the neighbour realises it. The Prime Minister, however, said that the options against Pakistan cannot be discussed in the open.
Reacting to the statement of the Prime Minister, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha said that they welcomed the statement, saying though it was late, it was a strong one.
Later, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who is slated to brief the Prime Minister over the situation at the LoC, said, "No time limit on Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the Poonch attack to book, but we are pressing them very hard."
Earlier on Tuesaday, the Indian Army kept up the pressure on Pakistan and called its army a frustrated force which was trying to violate the ceasefire at the Line of Control to help terrorists infiltrate into India. General Officer Commanding, Northern Command, Lieutenant General KT Parnaik said on Tuesday that the Pakistan troops have been provoking the Indian side so that the LoC remains "hot and active".
"Pakistan has been resorting to violence. In 2011, there were more than 100 ceasefire violations as compared to 52 last year. Pakistan is frustrated as infiltration is not taking place. Our troops are exercising great restraint," said Lt Gen KT Parnaik. While Pakistan continued to dismiss India’s charges, Lt General said, "They were as adamant and arrogant as they are."
"Pakistan has continuously tried to infiltrate from a nallah at Uri. We have restricted that to a large extent and that’s what frustrates them," Lt Gen Parnaik added.
Lt Gen Parnaik appealed to the troops at the Line of Control to exercise restraint, but be alert. He said India will continue to retaliate whenever provoked. "Pakistan is provoking us so that the LoC becomes hot and active. Our troops exercise great restraint. Whenever we are provoked we have retaliated and we will continue to do so," Lt Gen Parnaik said.
Terming the killing of Indian soldiers and decapitating one of them by Pakistani Army as ’barbaric’, Lt General Parnaik added, "On January 8, Pakistan breached the LoC on Mendhar sector, in a very barbaric act and mutilated our soldiers. It violates the Geneva Convention and violates the ceasefire agreement. My heart goes out to the families of these two soldiers."
He also said that Pakistan was continuously violating ceasefire and stopped only after warnings from India. "We had the meeting on January 14, on the night of Jan 13 and 14 they fired motors. We spoke to them on the hotline, we asked them that when they have agreed for a meeting, why were they violating the ceasefire. We told them we are recording all of this, their firing stopped then," Lt Gen Parnaik said.
This came a day after Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh hit out strongly at Pakistan over the killing of two Indian soldiers and continuous ceasefire violation. He warned Pakistan that the Indian Army will retaliate to Pakistan’s attack. "I have given very categorical directions to the Northern Command. When we are provoked we shall respond immediately. I expect my commanders to be aggressive in the face of firing. We will retaliate to Pakistan’s attack at a place and time of our choosing," General Bikram Singh said.
Talking tough against Pakistan, General Bikram Singh rejected Pakistan’s claims of an Indian operation at the Line of Control killing one soldier. "No operation was carried out by the Indian Army on January 6 as claimed by Pakistan," General Bikram Singh said.
He called the killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistan ’gruesome’ and ’unpardonable’ and said beheading the soldier was unacceptable.