He hints that chances of Manmohan-Sharif meeting are receding

Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Monday hinted that any possibility of talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counter Nawaz Sharif in New York next month was fast receding in view of the recent killings of five Indian soldiers in the Poonch sector by the Pakistani army and the increase in ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mr. Antony told the Rajya Sabha that the Indian Army had been told to “effectively retaliate” every instance of cross-border firing.

“Naturally, this incident [August killings of five Indian jawans by special forces of the Pakistani Army] will have consequences for our behaviour on the LoC and for our relations with Pakistan. Our restraint should not be taken for granted; nor should the capacity of our armed forces and resolve of the government to uphold the sanctity of the LoC be ever doubted… The Indian Army has mobilised its resources and is taking all steps to protect the sanctity of the LoC.”

Responding to queries, on the increase in firing along the LoC and reports of talks between the Prime Ministers, that followed his suo motu statement on the incident in the Poonch sector, Mr. Antony said: “Those in Pakistan who are responsible for…the brutal killing…should not go unpunished. Pakistan should also show determined action to dismantle the terrorist networks, organisations and infrastructure and show tangible movement on bringing those responsible for the Mumbai terrorist attack in November 2008 to justice quickly.”

Violations, infiltrations

Pointing out that there had been 24 violations of ceasefire and an increase in infiltration attempts since August 6, he said, “Nothing happens from Pakistan side of the LoC without support, assistance, facilitation and often, direct involvement of the Pakistan Army.”

In 2001, there were 61 cases of ceasefire violations which went up to 117 in 2012 and till August this year, there were 82 such incidents along the LoC, the Minister said.

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