Beheading soldiers 'unacceptable': PM

Manmohan Singh

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said India wanted peaceful existence with its neighbours but the recent incident of beheading by Pakistani troops was "against the norms of civilized international behavior" and "unacceptable".

Addressing a conference of Governors here, Singh said there is a need to recognise that India's neighbourhood is "characterized by growing instability and uncertainty" and that capabilities of armed forces and police are being "constantly strengthened" to meet the entire spectrum of security challenges.

"We remain committed to working for good relations and peaceful existence with our neighbours. However, we are also firm in our resolve to deal effectively with any threat to our country," he said.

Referring to beheading of Indian soldier by Pakistani troops in Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said, "Incidents like the one that took place on the LoC last month are against the norms of civilized international behaviour and are simply unacceptable to us."

Pakistani troops had carried out a cross-LoC attack on January 8, killing two Indian soldiers, one whom was beheaded. India has since been pressing for return of the head.

The incident had angered India which put on hold a scheme for visa for elderly people and the Prime Minister had stated that after the incident, it could not be "business as usual" with Pakistan.

Referring to the security challeneges facing the country, Singh told the conference that capabilities of armed force and police are being "constantly strengthened" to meet the entire spectrum of security challenges.

"We are also undertaking infrastructure development programs in the border areas to enhance mobility as well as connectivity," he said.

Referring to Left-wing extremism, he said its geographical spread in the country is showing a shrinking trend even though in Assam, it is expanding, which is "worrisome".

Explaining Centre's "two pronged" policy to tackle Left Wing Extremism (LWE), the Prime Minister said, "Even as we have intensified operations against the extremists, we have also endeavoured to bridge the development and governance deficit in these areas, many of which have predominantly tribal population."

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