India to respond to 'ghastly' attack on troops: Khurshid

Last Updated: Tue, Jan 08, 2013 18:42 hrs

New Delhi: Terming the attack by Pakistani troops on two Indian soldiers as "absolutely unacceptable" and "inhuman", the External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday said India will give a "proportionate response" to the "ghastly" attack on its soldiers.

Khurshid told NDTV that the government will make it clear to Pakistan that the action of its troops was absolutely unacceptable and it needed answers.

"This is inhuman. Extremely myopic, shortsighted. Has caused us tremendous hurt," Khurshid said.

He said government will reflect on steps that are meaningful and effective keeping in mind the security of the country and sentiments of the people.

"It is not something of light nature, public opinion does not accept it," Khurshid said.

Terming the incident as an unwholesome development, the minister said India will factor it in the roadmap for the future.

"We want proportionate response... (will take) a collective view in the government," he said.

He said the government will analyse the purpose of the action of Pakistan troops and factor in all dimensions in its decisions.

Khurshid termed the brutality and mutilation "extremely distressing".

"We need answers from the Pakistani side. We may have to go beyond the procedures," he warned.

The Army reported that Pakistani troops intruded into Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday and killed two Indian soldiers by slitting their throats.

 "There was a firefight with Pakistani troops," army spokesman Rajesh Kalia said, 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 metres (1,300-1,600 feet) inside our territory," he said.

Reports have indicated that the mutilated soldier may have been decapitated, but further investigations and a post-mortum were required to confirm this.

Mutilation of soldiers unacceptable in civilised society: Omar

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday termed killing of two Indian soldiers at Line of Control by Pakistani troops as "unacceptable" and said it was an attempt to derail the dialogue process between the two countries.

In the micro-blogging site Twitter, Omar said the report of mutilating of Indian troops was "unacceptable in any civilised society".

"Violation of the ceasefire is bad enough, to resort to mutilating soldiers is unacceptable in any civilised society," Omar tweeted.

He said that it was an attempt to derail the dialogue process between the two countries. "Clearly someone up the chain of command wants to do everything to derail any dialogue between the two countries," he said.

Omar expressed concern over the incident and said this escalation must cease as it may increase the infiltration from across the border. "That having been said, ceasefire must hold else infiltration will shoot up manifold under cover provided by firing," he said.

US urges India, Pak to end exchange of fire across LoC

The US has asked India and Pakistan to take steps to end the exchange of fire and resume normal trade and travel across the Line of Control.

"We urge both sides to take steps to end exchanges of fire and to resume normal trade and travel across the line of control," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters yesterday.

Nuland was responding to questions on news reports of firing by the Pakistani forces across the LoC on Indian posts.

India said its troops retaliated after unprovoked shelling by Pakistan destroyed a home.

"We have consistently supported attempts between India and Pakistan to find a positive way forward between them and to work on issues of Kashmir. We are concerned about any reports of violence along the line of control in Kashmir," Nuland said.

Congress, BJP condemn killing of Indian soldiers by Pakistan troops

The Congress and the BJP on Tuesday strongly condemned the ceasefire violation and the killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops, saying the incident will have an impact on bilateral ties.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said that talks with Pakistan should be called off while Congress said that Pakistan owes an explanation.

Congress spokesperson P. C. Chacko said that the step of Pakistan troops was highly condemnable.

"It is highly condemnable. Pakistan owes an explanation to India," Chacko said.

He said that this was not the first action of ceasefire violation by Pakistan and "will definitely spoil the relationship".

Chacko said the incident had come at a time when effort was being made to improve bilateral ties.

BJP spokesperson Tarun Vijay said government should "stop all talks with Pakistan".

He said the incident has exposed the "nefarious designs" of Pakistan".

"It is a slap on foolishly over-enthusiastic South Block's 'mohabbat talks'. Pakistan has proved that it is taking India for granted and this is the reply we received after giving visa to Javed Miandad," Vijay said.

"We must stop all talks with Pakistan till it comes to terms with India and UPA (United Progressive Alliance) be better reminded that unless they revive spirit of surrender of Pakistan forces in East Pakistan in 1971, this terror state is not going to listen to saner voices," he added.

Conflict must give way to reconciliation in South Asia: Pak PM

Elsewhere, addressing the South Asian Free Media Association, Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Tuesday called for reconciliation and connectivity in South Asia, saying countries in the region should try to settle political and economic issues with an open mind.

"Conflict over disputes must give way to reconciliation, connectivity, openness and regional cooperation. The collective well-being of people of South Asia cannot be left at the mercy of any one country," Ashraf said.

"We need to resolve all political and economic issues with an open mind and sincerity of purpose," he told a gathering of journalists and civil society activists from SAARC countries.

Pakistan attaches "great importance" to SAARC and is committed to the grouping's principles and objectives, he said.

"Pakistan supports liberalisation of intra-SAARC trade and looks forward to increasing our bilateral and multilateral trade with member countries," he said.

South Asia continues to lag behind despite immense natural and human resources and is a region where "poverty, unemployment and economic disparities stare us on our face," Ashraf said.

The challenges of the region can be tackled by "developing home-grown solutions" and the diversity of SAARC countries should be used to accelerate development through greater connectivity, he said.

"History will not forgive us if member countries continue to be bogged down by narrow considerations. The 1.2 billion people of South Asia expect their leaders to exercise vision, statesmanship and think out of the box to put SAARC in the league of other groupings," Ashraf said.

The political leadership of South Asia must "show courage, flexibility and statesmanship to resolve inter-state conflicts and dismantle political barriers for laying the foundations of a regional economic take off", he added.

More from Sify: