Recent incidents localised, LoC ceasefire stands: Army chief

FP

"It was conveyed in no uncertain terms that repetition of such acts will not be tolerated and the Indian Army reserves the right to retaliate at the place and time of our own choosing in case they recur," an Indian Army spokesperson said.

However, the Pakistani side denied any involvement in the matter and accused India of violating the ceasefire agreement, prompting the Army to say that the response was on "expected lines". "The Pakistani delegation leader denied their involvement in the incident, denying any ceasefire violations by their troops and reiterated the false and fabricated allegations that our troops crossed over the Line of Control and killed one Pakistani soldier and injured another," the spokesperson said.

The half-an-hour meeting ended with both sides asking each other to exercise restraint and maintain the 2003 ceasefire pact.

"We have to make the Pakistan Army accountable. There are diplomatic, political ways of doing it. We want the head back but what do you do when a country and its army are in denial mode. I think we should pressurise them nationally and internationally," Singh said.

Significantly, throughout his media interaction, Singh reaffirmed several times that the incident had taken place at a tactical level and would be dealt in a similar manner. Without specifying what action would be taken, he also underlined that the Army would not cross the LoC while fashioning its response.

"The reply would be given but the LoC would not be crossed. We have been firing back. The orders are very clear to local commanders that when fired at, they have to retaliate. We have adequate resources, wisdom and competent field commanders who would be able to deal with the situation," asserted Singh.

The Army chief also admitted that this was not the first time in recent years that Pakistani troops had beheaded an Indian soldier on the LoC. Singh said a similar incident had taken place in 2011 when two soldiers of the 20 Kumaon regiment had been beheaded. The army had consistently denied the incident in the past.

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