We only fired back, envoy tells Pakistan

January 12, 2013 - 1:02:49 am

Border Security Force soldiers patrol along the border fence at an outpost on the India-Pakistan border in Suchit-Garh, 36km southwest of Jammu, yesterday. 

New Delhi: The Indian envoy told the Pakistan government yesterday that the Indian Army gave a “controlled response” to “unprovoked” firing by Pakistani troops along the Jammu and Kashmir border.

Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal conveyed this to Pakistan Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani in Islamabad, the external affairs ministry spokesman said here.

Sabharwal was yesterday served a “note verbale” after Pakistani alleged that Indian firing and shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir killed a Pakistani soldier.

“As we understand it, there has been unprovoked firing by Pakistan in the Mandher sector and there was controlled response from our side,” the spokesman said.

The Indian high commissioner also told the Pakistanis that the sanctity of the LoC “is the most important confidence building measure between India and Pakistan”.

The two countries agreed to a ceasefire along the winding LoC, which divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan, in 2003. The truce has largely held on in the past decade. The spokesman also reiterated India’s refusal to involve any third party to probe the allegations and counter allegations from the two countries on the LoC.

India and Pakistan “have a mechanism to bilaterally solve such issues”, the official said.

He said the Director Generals Military Operation of both countries were in contact. “We are fully capable of handling all these matters without involving the UN or any other third party.”

Tensions between India and Pakistan have escalated in Kashmir since January 6 when a Pakistani solider was killed allegedly by Indian troops.

Two days later, two Indian soldiers were killed and beheaded near the LoC. Indian officials blamed Pakistani troops for the horror.

India summoned the Pakistani envoy on Thursday to lodge a strong protest. 

The spokesman added that New Delhi and Islamabad were also discussing Pakistan’s decision to prevent trucks from Jammu and Kashmir from entering Pakistani Kashmir.

Meanwhile, LeT founder and 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Muhammad Saeed has “challenged” the government to prove that he was present near the Line of Control a few days ago.

A day after Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said that Saeed had visited Pakistan-administered Kashmir a few days before two Indian soldiers were killed by Pakistani troops in Jammu and Kashmir, the Jamat-ud-Dawah chief said in a tweet: “I challenge the Indian Government, its ministers & agencies to prove my presence near LOC or remain exposed as Liars in front of the world.”

Shinde had said that information about the movement of Saeed near the LoC was received by intelligence agencies and the government was trying to get details of his visit.

“(There) has been information that Saeed entered PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) and talked to some people,” Shinde said at a press conference here on Thursday.

The Lashkar-e-Taiba founder termed it a “blatant lie” that he had visited Pakistan-administered Kashmir and said he was prepared to “accept every Indian allegation if they prove my alleged visit at the LOC”.

In fact, a little after Shinde’s press conference on Thursday where he made the revelation about Saeed, the Lashkar-e-Taiba founder tweeted: “We strongly reject Mr.Shinde spineless and fact less allegation of @HafizSaeedJUD involvement in LOC raid.”