Pakistani Army behind LoC killings: Antony

Defence Minister A K Antony blamed the Pakistani Army on Monday for the killings of five Indian soldiers along the Line of Control.

Zee Media Bureau/Deepak Nagpal

New Delhi: Defence Minister A K Antony blamed the Pakistani Army on Monday for the killings of five Indian soldiers along the Line of Control (LoC) and the ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir.

Making a statement in the Rajya Sabha on the situation along the LoC and International Border, Antony said "firing will have an impact on our stand on LoC and as well as relations with Pakistan".

The minister accused the Pakistani Army for ambushing five Indian soldiers along the LoC recently, and said, "Nothing can happen on Pakistan`s side of the border without the know of their Army."

He said specialised team of the Pakistani Army are involved in LoC killings.

The government was forced to make a statement on the ceasefire violations following pressure from the Opposition.

As per the Army, Pakistan has violated ceasefire more than 70 times so far this year itself - a jump of nearly 85 per cent over the same period last year.

Also, casualty figures of soldiers as well as injuries to civilians have been more than compared to last year.

Three ceasefire violations were reported along the LoC in Mendhar sector overnight also.

The Indian Army has responded fittingly to the provocations from the other side, which has been using heavy weapons including mortars.

Yesterday too, Pakistani troops had targeted Indian posts in Mendhar, and Poonch`s Balakot sector, Deri Dabsi and Pattri Gala areas, using automatic weapons and mortars.

A top Army commander had yesterday warned that Pakistan was making a "serious mistake" and said a befitting reply would be given with "full force" at the time and place of its choice.

"You (Pakistan) are making a serious mistake (with regard to ceasefire violations and BAT attacks) -- do not do it," General Officer Commanding (GOC) 25 Infantry Div, Major General V P Singh told reporters.

India has blamed BAT, which is a mix of Pakistani special forces personnel and terrorists, for the brutal killing of its two soldiers in January, one of whom was beheaded, and killing of its five personnel along Line of Control in Poonch sector.

Defence Minister A K Antony has said that the Army has a free hand to respond to situation on the LoC.

On INS Sindhurakshak tragedy

Meanwhile, commenting on the submarine tragedy Antony said, "Initial assessment indicates that internal problem led to explosion on INS Sindhurakshak."

"It is possible that all 18 personnel may not have survived," he added.

"A board of inquiry has been formed to investigate the cause of fire," the minister informed further.

"The Navy has ordered an audit of SOPs and checks on all weapon-related safety systems on board its submarines," he told the Rajya Sabha.

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