New Delhi: Echoing the anger in the forces and the nation over the killing of two Indian Army soldiers near LoC in J&K and the beheading of one of them by Pakistani soldiers, Indian Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh on Monday said the soldier's mutilation was a barbaric, gruesome act and goes against the ethics of soldering.
Speaking to the media hours before India and Pakistan are to hold a Brigadier-level flag meeting in Poonch sector in Jammu and Kashmir to discuss escalating tensions on the LoC, the Army Chief said, “It defies all logic and is against very ethics of soldiering. We have taken it up strongly with Pakistan. My heart goes out to the families of the two soldiers. It was a gruesome and unpardonable act.”
“The beheading of our soldier is unacceptable,” he said. On bringing back the head of Lance Naik Hemraj, Gen Singh said that the matter is being pursued through the diplomatic channel, adding that the matter has been conveyed at DGMO level.
He also said that the Army shares the grief of the martyrs. “We understand the grief of the families of the brave soldiers who laid down their lives. They are our families too,” he said.
Backing his commanders on the ground, he said, “The Indian Army Commanders at the Line of Control (LoC) doing a great job…expect all LoC commanders to be aggressive. I don't expect my commanders to be timid, their response is retaliation after provocation…their response has always been measured and for effect.” What is of paramount importance is to ensure that morale of soldiers along LoC is high, he pointed out.
“Our core values have been highlighted over centuries and needs to be upheld,” he said.
The Army Chief pointed out that there been nine ceasefire violations in 2013 so far and most of them are a result of local dynamics.
“Will uphold ceasefire as long as the adversary upholds it, we will not be passive. Orders are clear that when provoked our ground troops can return fire,” he said.
“India reserves its right to retaliate against Pakistan at time and place of its choice, won't remain passive when attacked,” gen Singh announced.
“The entire misinformation campaign launched by Pakistan is based on lies,” he said while pointing out that the entire sequence of events suggests that it was pre-planned. “This firing from Pakistan is a manifestation of their frustration. Their troops are not moving forward but we are watching.”
Gen Singh did not rule out the possibility that Pakistan Army used terrorists in this operation. “…they have in the past, but this was done by Pakistan regulars,” he said, adding that the LoC operation was pre-planned and stage-managed with a media campaign by Pakistan.
First Published: Monday, January 14, 2013, 11:54