India summons Pakistani envoy over killing of two soldiers

Ms Paramjeet Kaur, the mother of slain Indian Army soldier Paramjeet Singh, crying at his funeral ceremony in Vein Pein village, some 45km from Amritsar on Tuesday. India has accused Pakistan of killing two of its soldiers and mutilating their bodies
Ms Paramjeet Kaur, the mother of slain Indian Army soldier Paramjeet Singh, crying at his funeral ceremony in Vein Pein village, some 45km from Amritsar on Tuesday. India has accused Pakistan of killing two of its soldiers and mutilating their bodies in an "unprovoked" rocket and mortar attack.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Pakistani military denies its troops are behind attack near border in Kashmir

NEW DELHI • The Indian government has summoned Pakistan's envoy to New Delhi to convey its outrage over the killing and mutilation of two Indian soldiers in Kashmir, which it blames on Pakistan army personnel.

The move to call in Pakistan's high commissioner - which it has done twice in the last 12 months - comes amid rising tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours and follows the soldiers' deaths along the Line of Control that divides the disputed region of Kashmir.

India shared evidence with Pakistan's envoy to show that its troops were involved in mutilation of the bodies of the two Indian Army soldiers near the border, Foreign Ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay said in New Delhi. "We will have to wait and watch" to see what steps India might take in the future, he said.

The Pakistan military denies its army was involved in the attack, with Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif describing India's allegations as baseless.

"It is a deplorable attempt to ignite tensions for internal political motives" and deflect attention from the ongoing tension in Kashmir, he tweeted on May 1.

Pakistan remained "fully committed" to peace along the Line of Control, he said, calling on India to exercise prudence to avoid the situation deteriorating further.

In a statement on Twitter, India's Foreign Ministry said it was "significant that the attack was preceded by covering fire from Pakistani" army posts, adding that a trail of blood "clearly shows that the killers returned across the Line of Control" into Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

India demanded that Pakistan "take immediate action" against the soldiers and commanders "responsible for this heinous act".

It is not uncommon for India to call in Pakistan's top diplomatic representatives in New Delhi. Envoys were previously summoned over what the Foreign Ministry said were ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and the alleged espionage activities of Pakistani diplomats.

"Foreign Secretary summons Pak HC, conveys India's outrage, demands action against Pak soldiers and commanders responsible," Mr Baglay said on Twitter.

Since the death of the two soldiers, there have been calls within India for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government to respond, as it did last September with what it said were military strikes in Pakistan.

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley wrote in a May 1 Twitter message that India's armed forces "will react appropriately". However, defence analyst and former brigadier in the Pakistan Army Asad Munir said India has "no capability to carry out a surgical strike inside Pakistan".

India-Pakistan tensions have been rising for some time. Last month, a Pakistani military court issued a death sentence to a former Indian naval officer that Islamabad said was engaged in "espionage and sabotage activities".

"Nationalist frenzy is at its peak in India and Pakistan at the moment and the situation between the two countries could worsen further," said Mr Husain Haqqani, a scholar at the Washington-based Hudson Institute. "The solution would be for India to deal with the restlessness of the Kashmiris and for Pakistan to end its support for terrorist groups, but that does not seem to be the direction events are taking."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2017, with the headline 'India summons Pakistani envoy over killing of two soldiers'. Print Edition | Subscribe