New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Wednesday defended Defence Minister A.K. Antony after the opposition criticized him over his 'terrorists in Pakistan Army uniform' remark made in Parliament, and said that the latter made the statement based on facts.
"Mr. Antony made statement as was briefed by the Army. There is no contradiction. The Army's statement (that the attack was carried out by a Pakistan Border Action Team, which indicted the Pakistan Army) was corrected before the Defence Minister made a statement based on corrected version," he told media here today.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today sought an apology from the Defence Minister for his 'terrorists in Pakistan Army uniform' remark made in Parliament yesterday.
"Antony's statement is in contrast to the defence ministry's statement. We demand that the defence minister should apologize. He gave a needless clean chit to the Pakistan Army," Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said in Parliament today.
"Who is the defence Minister to give a clean chit to the Pakistani Army?" she asked.
Of the five Indian soldiers killed, four belong to the 21 Bihar Regiment and one to the Maratha Light Infantry. They were killed in an ambush by Pakistani troops. The Indian Army soldiers killed in the incident have been identified as Prem Nath Singh,Shambhu Saran Ray, Vyay Kumay Ray, Raghunandan Prasad and Pundalik Mane.
On Tuesday, Antony strongly condemned Pakistan's firing and attack on the Indian side of the LoC in the Poonch sector.
"We strongly condemn this unprovoked incident. The Government of India has lodged strong protest with the Government of Pakistan through diplomatic channels. I assure the House that our Army is fully ready to take all necessary steps to uphold the sanctity of the LoC," Antony said in a suo moto statement in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
"The Government of India conveys its condolences to the families of the martyrs who made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty," he added.
Antony informed that a patrol of the Indian Army comprising of one Non Commissioned Officer and five other ranks was ambushed on our side of Line of Control in Poonch Sector of Jammu and Kashmir.
"In the ensuing firefight, five Indian soldiers were martyred and one soldier was injured. The ambush was carried out by approximately 20 heavily armed terrorists along with persons dressed in Pakistan Army uniforms," he said.
The Defence Minister informed that the numbers of infiltration attempts have doubled this year in comparison to the corresponding period (January 1- August 5) of 2012.
"There has also been 57 cease fire violations this year, which is 80 percent more than the violations last year during the same corresponding period. The Indian Army successfully eliminated 19 hardcore terrorists in the recent months of July and August along the Line of Control and in the hinterland in Jammu and Kashmir," said Antony.
"The effective counter infiltration grid on the Line of Control has ensured that 17 infiltration bids were foiled this year," he added.