Beheading of Indian soldiers 'unpardonable' act, says Army chief General Bikram Singh
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Angry at the beheading of Indian soldier on Line of Control, Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh today issued a clear warning to Pakistan saying India reserves the right to retaliate at the "time and place" of its choosing.
Talking tough over the January 8 incident in Mendhar area of Jammu and Kashmir, he said the beheading was "unacceptable" and "most unpardonable" and the troops would respond immediately, aggressively and offensively if provoked.
Slamming Pakistan for planting lies to justify the "pre-meditated and pre-planned" cross-LoC attack, he said Pakistan army's commando unit SSG had carried out the assault.
He did not rule out the possibility of Lashker-e-Toiba terrorists providing help to Pakistan army in the assault in which two Indian soldiers were killed, one of them beheaded.
"It (beheading of Lance Naik Hemraj) is unacceptable and unpardonable. It is barbaric. It defies all logic. It is against the very rules of engagement. It is against the ethics of soldiering... We are annoyed," the Army Chief said addressing a press conference on the eve of Army Day.
He revealed that Pakistani army had beheaded two Indian soldiers earlier also. "Yes, this has happened. We cannot conceal this fact," he said when asked whether two jawans of Kumaon regiment had been beheaded by Pakistani army over a year back.
Asserting that the Pakistani army "needs to be accountable", he said, "we reserve the right to retaliate at the time and place of our choosing."
Replying to a volley of questions during the nearly two-hour interaction, Gen Singh said he expected the Indian commanders "to be aggressive and offensive in the face of provocation. I don't expect my commanders to be timid... We shall not be passive when fire at. Therefore, when fired at, when provoked, we shall respond."