Jan 10, 2013 No Comments ›› spratico
Naharnet-India accused Pakistan of killing two of its soldiers in a “ghastly” attack Tuesday and mutilating one of the bodies along the tense disputed border between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said India would deliver a “proportionate response” to the killings in Kashmir which he said were designed to sabotage an already fragile peace process.
The Pakistani military meanwhile rejected what it called Indian “propaganda” that it said was aimed at diverting attention after a cross-border exchange at the weekend in which a Pakistani soldier was killed.
The two Indian soldiers died after a firefight broke out around noon as a patrol moving in foggy conditions discovered Pakistani troops about half a kilometer (1,600 feet) inside Indian territory, an army spokesman said.
A ceasefire has been in place along the Line of Control that divides the countries since 2003, but it is periodically violated by both sides.
“There was a firefight with Pakistani troops,” army spokesman Rajesh Kalia told AFP from the mountainous Himalayan region, confirming the names of the men as sergeants Hemraj Singh and Sudhakar Singh.
“We lost two soldiers and one of them has been badly mutilated,” he added, declining to give more details on the injuries.
“The intruders were regular (Pakistani) soldiers and they were 400-500 meters (1,300-1,600 feet) inside our territory,” he said of the clash in Mendhar sector, 173 kilometers (107 miles) west by road from the city of Jammu.
Indian reports and a military source speaking to AFP indicated that the mutilated soldier may have been decapitated, but further investigations and a post-mortum were required to confirm this.
Speaking on Indian television, Khurshid described the killings as “inhuman” and “not the way civilized people deal with each other”.
“We need to do something about this and we will, but it has to be done after careful consideration of all the details in consultation with the defense ministry,” Khurshid told the NDTV news channel.
“It is absolutely unacceptable, ghastly, and really, really terrible and extremely short-sighted by their part,” he added, promising that the response would be “proportionate”.
“This seems like a clear attempt to derail the dialogue,” he added. “We have to find ways in which the dialogue is not sabotaged or destroyed.”
Relations between the neighbors had been slowly improving over the last few years following a rupture in their slow-moving peace process after the 2008 attacks on Mumbai, which were blamed by India on Pakistan-based militants.