BJP demands recall of Indian envoy; will not go for revenge, govt says

Last Updated: Sat, Jan 12, 2013 16:25 hrs

New Delhi: External affairs minister Salman Khurshid said on Saturday the government will not buckle to "wild calls for revenge and reaction" over the killing and beheading of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops.

In an interview to a news channel, Khurshid said the heightened border tensions "demands very responsible and sensible and moderate behaviour".

"We're not going to be pressurised by wild calls for revenge and reaction. We will do what is in the best interest of the country and peace, keeping in mind that there is a lot at stake.

"And we hope there will be a similar approach from the other side," he said, adding: "We shouldn't really be lulled into believing that nothing went wrong."

Asked if he believed the tense situation would taper off quickly, Khurshid said: "We hope we'll both have the ability to contain and control while we continue to look at how we resolve the fundamental issue."

Khurshid said India has not received any response from Pakistan on the January 8 killing and beheading of the Indian soldiers. The violation of the 2003 ceasefire by Pakistan, on the Line of Control, is a matter of concern and India has conveyed its concern to Pakistan, he said.

Khurshid also hoped the anger over the killings and the demand for revenge would pass "and it must pass". "It's important that we do not allow anyone to play up to the media. Both sides have very active media and it's important that the public face must remain restrained," the minister added.

He said even if both countries disagree about violations of the 2003 ceasefire, "there should not be any disagreement in the manner in which our soldiers and their bodies were treated. That is the bottom line. That is unacceptable and that must be explained."

Border tensions between India and Pakistan have risen sharply since the July 6 death of a Pakistani soldier in alleged firing by Indian forces along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

Two days later, on January 8, Pakistani soldiers killed and beheaded two Indian soldiers in the Mendhar sector in Poonch district. India had summoned the Pakistani high commissioner Salman Bashir to lodge its protest over the killing and political parties have called for tough action against Pakistan.

Recall high commissioner to Pakistan: BJP

Former BJP president Rajnath Singh on Saturday said India should recall its high commissioner to Pakistan and scale down the level of diplomatic ties after Pakistani soldiers killed and beheaded two Indian soldiers near the Line of Control (LoC).

Singh said that recent incident on the LoC in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir indicates that Pakistan was not keen to improve relations.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said the neighbouring country had repeatedly violated the ceasefire and added that the government has not lodged a strong protest with Pakistan and a strong warning should be given.

"To register a protest, the high commissioner (to Pakistan) should be recalled and diplomatic ties should be scaled down," Singh said.

Sharat Sabharwal is the Indian high commissioner in Islamabad.

Pakistan has so far not responded to Indian suggestion for a brigade level flag meeting in Poonch sector, where the incident took place.

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