India rejects UN probe demand
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Spelling out the stand after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security where the issue was discussed, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the killing of two Indian soldiers was the third such incident to have taken place along the LoC.
"We are certainly not going to agree to internationalise the issue or allow the United Nations to hold an inquiry. That demand is obviously rejected out of hand," Chidambaram said after the briefing in the CCS by Defence Minister A K Antony.
"This is an incident of which we take grave note. Two such incidents have happened earlier. Whatever is to be done, we will do it," he said. "We will deal with it accordingly." He also ruled out the scope of Indian troops violating ceasefire provisions. "Our reports are that Indian forces conducted themselves strictly according to ceasefire rules," he said.
Separately, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon said that this is not the first time such an incident has happened. He also said that the ceasefire violations have increased, and the infiltration attempts have gone up as well. "I think it is quite clear. Government has said what it has to say on the event. You have a selection of adjectives — reprehensible, barbaric, dastardly, whatever you want. Sadly, it is not the first time this has happened. I hope it never happens again. But we have also told you exactly what we intend to do. So, now I think you should let government go about its business," he told reporters.
Responding to questions, Menon said, "I do not speak for the Pak army. I cannot tell you what is in their mind. I can tell you what happens. There has been an increase in ceasefire violations. There has been an increase in infiltration attempts, not only in the last few months. In 2012 there was an overall increase over 2011. That is a fact. And that is something we are dealing with, both ourselves and with the Pakistani authorities."
When asked about Pakistan's demand that it was ready to hold investigations through the United Nations Military Observers Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), he said in a dismissive tone, "UNMOGIP still exists? I thought they do not have a role."
On behalf of UNMOGIP, the UN spokesperson in New Delhi said, "Since investigations are on, we are not going to comment on the matter." UNMOGIP maintains an office in Srinagar, and its office in New Delhi on the Purana Qila Road remained locked on Thursday.
Government sources said India does not give any cognizance to the UNMOGIP since 1971, and had communicated about New Delhi's position more than 40 years back. Unlike other UN missions, UNMOGIP — one of the two oldest UN missions — does not need any periodic renewal of the mandate.
While India has not been reporting the ceasefire violations to UNMOGIP for the last 40 years — since it believes that UNMOGIP's mandate ended after the ceasefire line became the LoC — Pakistan has been regularly reporting the incidents to the UN mission.
De-escalate tension: UN to India, Pak
UNITED NATIONS: The UN has urged India and Pakistan to respect the ceasefire and "de-escalate" tensions over the recent cross-border firings through dialogue. "UNMOGIP is aware that the Pakistan Army and Indian Army are in contact via the Hotline and urges both sides to respect the ceasefire and de-escalate tensions through dialogue," The United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan said in a statement to PTI. "No official complaint has been received either from the Pakistan Army or Indian Army" regarding the January 8 clash in which two Indian soldiers were killed, it said.
Hope peace process is not derailed: Khar
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan hoped that the ceasefire violations along the LoC would not be a setback to or derail the peace process with India. "You asked whether this will set back or derail the (peace) process. I will hope not and I (do not) see it derailing or setting back the process," Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said during a news conference at the Foreign Office. "I hope both the countries will show their commitment to correct (the situation) as we are showing our commitment to correct," she replied to a flurry of questions about the recent clashes along the LoC.
UP announces Rs 20 lakh compensation
MODINAGAR: Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday condemned the killing of the two soldiers and promised their families monetary relief of Rs 20 lakh each from the state government. "Our party strongly condemns the attack on our soldiers and the state government will give them Rs 20 lakh each. Action must also be taken in this regard," Akhilesh said in his first visit to Ghaziabad district since the Samajwadi Party was voted to power last year. ENS & pti