Tuesday 16 July 2019, 08:05 AM
India warns Pakistan, Sharif appeals for peace
By IANS | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 8/9/2013 12:00:00 AM
India warns Pakistan, Sharif appeals for peace

New Delhi/Islamabad : Defence Minister A.K. Antony Thursday accused Pakistan of killing the five Indian soldiers in Kashmir and warned it not to take India''s restraint for granted. Almost in response, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif voiced "sadness" over "loss of precious human lives" and called for "effective steps" to restore peace on the border.

After facing intense criticism for blaming "heavily armed terrorists" for the early Tuesday killings, Antony told parliament that "specialist troops of Pakistan Army were involved in this attack" that have sparked anger in India against Pakistan.

"We all know that nothing happens from Pakistan side of the Line of Control (LoC) without the support, assistance, facilitation and often the direct involvement of the Pakistan Army," he said.

"Naturally, this incident will have consequences on our behaviour on LoC and for our relations with Pakistan," Antony said, betraying a hard stance in New Delhi ahead of an expected meeting next month between Sharif and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

A short time later, Sharif, who took power in June with a pledge to improve relations with India, told foreign ministry officials that he was sad over the "loss of precious human lives", said a statement from the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.

"The prime minister said it was imperative for both India and Pakistan to take effective steps to ensure and restore ceasefire on the LoC," the statement said. Sharif said he looked forward to meeting Manmohan Singh.

Sharif emphasized that existing military-to-military channels could be more optimally used to prevent misunderstanding between both countries and said the crisis should not be allowed to escalate.

Pakistan, he added, was ready to discuss steps with India to further strengthen the existing mechanisms at the political and military levels.

Sharif said it was incumbent upon Indian and Pakistani leaders "not to allow the situation to drift and to take steps to improve the atmosphere by engaging constructively with a view to building trust and confidence".

In New Delhi, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said this was not the right time to talk about a meeting between Manmohan Singh and Sharif.

"There will be lot of work necessary if we are to talk ... but will it be conducive, we need to look at it," he said.

Antony''s previous statement blaming "heavily armed terrorists" and others in Pakistani military uniform for the death of Indian soldiers led to a storm, with the opposition accusing him of trying to shield the Pakistani military.

On Thursday, the opposition fury vis-a-vis Antony died down.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj told the Lok Sabha: "I am grateful to (Antony) for correcting his statement... I am glad he admitted his mistake. Kindly ensure this does not happen in the future."

But the BJP continued to ask India not to have a dialogue with Pakistan.

The party said it had told the government that the soldiers'' deaths would impact India''s foreign policy, and wanted the government to examine "other options" vis-a-vis Islamabad.

Explaining what the "other options" were, BJP leader Arun Jaitley said: "Not talking (to Pakistan) is an option, not talking for some time is another option, talking at a low level is also an option. The government can examine the options".

Another BJP leader, former foreign minister Yashwant Sinha, added: "Our demand to end talks with Pakistan still holds."

The Indian and Pakistani statements came even as four of the five soldiers killed near the LoC were cremated across three districts of Bihar, the event attended by grieving family members, relatives and a mass of people.

In London, British Prime Minister David Cameron called for India-Pakistan talks to resolve their issues, including the killing of Indian soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Talks can resolve any issues in a democratic system," Cameron was quoted as saying by Manchester''s Asian Lite newspaper.

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India warns Pakistan, Sharif appeals for peace

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