Such incidents have the potential to derail peace process: eminent citizens

In its take on the India-Pakistan border skirmish, which led to death of two Indian soldiers, the BJP on Wednesday said the ‘unprovoked aggression is obviously’ intended to disturb the environment of relationship between the countries.

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said New Delhi should consider it a warning, and asked the government to collect all evidence and place it before the international community so that Pakistan could be “named and shamed” before the world at large.

Pointing out that a categorical commitment by Pakistan that it would not allow its soil to be used to launch attacks directed at India was one of the main components of the Vajpayee-Musharraf accord, the BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasar said. “If this basic agreement is not followed, then what is the point of talks? This is not a casual conversation. We need to redefine, reappraise and reanalyse the basic contours of engagement with Pakistan.”

The Congress urged Pakistan “not to test India's patience any more.” Reading out a couplet in Urdu, party spokesperson Rashid Alvi suggested that India's response would match Pakistan’s action, and it would not take such things lying down any more.

Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj called up National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and emphasised the need to take the issue seriously.

Mr. Jaitley asked the government to “clearly define the dos and don'ts” in the relations with the neighbouring nation. “This attack is also a warning to India... a warning that in dealing with Pakistan it is extremely important that the government of India clearly defines the redlines. It will have to be very firm and cautious and very clear on how to deal with Pakistan.”

Meanwhile, eminent citizens from both countries expressed concern at the latest developments and warned that such incidents had the potential to derail the peace process that had shown remarkable progress in recent times.

In a signed statement, they urged both countries to continue with the peace process, resume normal trade across the LoC and enhance people-to-people contacts by easing the visa regime further.

“We are happy that the Directors General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of both countries have spoken to each other after the incidents. We urge that suitable mechanisms must be evolved and implemented immediately to ensure that the concerned authorities on both sides are in constant touch to avert recurrence of any such incidence rather than meet after some damage is done.

“We sincerely appeal to both the countries to take action against those responsible and see such incidents do not occur in future. Such incident will only help warmongers and enemies of peace when the need of the hour for both sides is to take the peace process forward.”

The signatories include Admiral L. Ramdas (former Chief of the Indian Navy), Mahesh Bhat (filmmaker), Jatin Desai (peace activist and journalist), Amrita Chacchi (academic), Ramesh Pimple (People’s Media Initiative), I. A. Rahman (Human Rights Commission of Pakistan), A. H. Hayyar (president, Pakistan Peace Coalition), B. M. Kutty (secretary general of Pakistan Peace Coalition), Tipu Sultan (Pakistan Medical Association) and Sheema Kermani (Tahrik-e-Niswan).

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