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

FP

Expressing "deepest concern and protest" over the "barbaric and inhuman mutilation" of two Indian soldiers — one of whom was beheaded — New Delhi Wednesday summoned Pakistan's envoy and told him that the fallout of the incident, if not contained, would have an "adverse impact" on bilateral relations.

Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai called Pakistan High Commissioner Salman Bashir — a former foreign secretary of Pakistan — to his South Block office and 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 Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

Sources told The Indian Express that Bashir maintained that Pakistan had a "professional army". Mathai told him that the Indian Army had "confirmed information", and India would want the matter investigated. To this, the Pakistani envoy said he would convey New Delhi's views to Islamabad.

It is learnt that Mathai talked "tough" with Bashir, and was "curt" during their 20-minute meeting, during which he also handed over a "note verbale".

Sources said that Mathai pointed to the importance of maintaining the existing framework of ceasefire, and Bashir agreed. Pakistan's envoy said Islamabad too had invested in bilateral ties over the past few years.

Pakistan army regulars crossed into Indian territory in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday and ambushed an Indian patrol, killing two soldiers, one of whom was beheaded.

Addressing a joint press interaction with Vietnam's deputy prime minister in Hyderabad House on Wednesday, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said the Pakistani envoy was "spoken to in very strong terms" and the deepest concern and protest over the incident was conveyed. He called the incident "completely unacceptable".

Referring to last month's Indo-Pak discussions on conventional CBMs, during which the sanctity of the LoC as one of the most important CBMs was emphasised, Khurshid said, "Violation of that (ceasefire) itself is something which is a matter of great concern. And that would obviously, if not immediately contained, will have adverse impact on what we have been trying to do for such a long time."

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