PM Manmohan Singh will decide on talks with Pakistan: Salman Khurshid

The killing of five Indian soldiers along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir has triggered a national outrage.

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: The killing of five Indian soldiers along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir may have triggered a national outrage but the government appears set to go ahead with the Indo-Pak talks next month.

The Congress party, which leads the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, has said that talks with Pakistan will go on as scheduled.

However, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told a news channel that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will decide on his meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

Party spokesperson PC Chacko had however told reporters earlier that PM Singh’s proposed meeting with Nawaz Sharif in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) was still on.

Chacko said only talks could resolve the issues between the two neighbours.

"It is not through war that we are going to solve the problems, but through discussion and dialogue. So, the Indian PM and Pakistan PM will be meeting (in New York)," Chacko said.

Pakistan has rejected the allegation, saying there had been no exchange of fire along the heavily militarised LoC.

But the attack, one of the worst since the 2003 truce along the LoC, puts the government under pressure to respond aggressively as it heads into a tough election next year.

India summoned Pakistan`s deputy envoy to New Delhi yesterday and lodged a protest over the killings in the Poonch region.

"The ambush was carried out by approximately 20 heavily armed terrorists along with persons dressed in Pakistan Army uniforms," Defence Minister A K Antony told Parliament yesterday.

Earlier, his ministry in a statement had directly accused the Pakistani Army of launching the attack alongside militants, but it subsequently withdrew the allegation, which could have escalated tensions between the rivals.

The attack came just days after a botched attempt to bomb the Indian consulate in Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, a country where India and Pakistan are competing for influence.

(With agency inputs)

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