New Delhi summons Bashir to protest, Pak says let UN probe

An Angry New Delhi lodged a strong protest on Wednesday over the "barbaric and inhuman mutilation" of two Indian soldiers allegedly by Pakistani army regulars on the Line of Control. Pakistan High Commissioner Salman Bashir was summoned and told that the incident, if not contained, would have an "adverse impact" on bilateral relations.

Soon after the meeting, the Pakistan High Commission issued a statement denying the involvement of its troops in the attack, including the beheading of an Indian soldier. Stressing that it was committed to a constructive, sustained and result-oriented engagement with India, the statement said: "Pakistan is prepared to hold investigations through the United Nations Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan on the recent ceasefire violations on the Line of Control."

In the meeting with Bashir, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai asked Islamabad to "immediately investigate these actions that are in contravention of all norms of international conduct and ensure that these do not recur".

The Pakistan army is accused of entering the Indian side of the LoC in Poonch's Mendhar region under the cover of fog Tuesday morning, killing two Indian soldiers and beheading one. They are believed to have carried back the head with them. Two soldiers were seriously injured in the attack.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who was addressing a joint press conference with Vietnam's Deputy PM, said the Pakistani envoy had been "spoken to in very strong terms" and the "deepest concern and protest" over the incident conveyed. He called the incident "completely unacceptable".

Referring to last month's Indo-Pak discussions on conventional CBMs, wherein maintaining the sanctity of the LoC was emphasised, Khurshid said, "Violation of (ceasefire) itself is something which is a matter of great concern. And that would obviously, if not immediately contained, have an adverse impact on what we have been trying to do... The manner in which the bodies have been treated, of course, the manner is of very, very deep concern. This has been conveyed as unacceptable. We are doing the best that is possible... Our intent is being conveyed very clearly. Our anxiety has been conveyed very clearly. Now we would expect an appropriate response from the other side," he added.

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