The BJP on Tuesday demanded that the government call off talks with Pakistan in the wake of the killing of five soldiers and sharp rise in infiltration from across the border.

Senior leader Yashwant Sinha said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should not hold talks with his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif during his visit to the U.S. on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting.

He took exception to the statement by Defence Minister A.K. Antony in Parliament suggesting that the killing was executed by terrorists in Pakistani Army uniforms.

Mr. Sinha said the Minister had conceded that there had been an 80 per cent increase in infiltration across the Line of Control and there were 57 ceasefire violations in the last six months. Given this reality, it was absurd to have any talks with Pakistan. Expressing disappointment over the statement, Mr. Sinha said the government should order the forces to retaliate when such attacks take place. “There is nothing worse than tying their hands and making them take bullets.”

“Pakistan has been openly flouting the ceasefire agreement and now even the fig leaf has gone. Why does the Indian government not take this up with Pakistan through diplomatic channels?” The BJP leader said instead of the government calling Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner to register its protest, the Pakistan High Commissioner should have been asked to present himself before the Indian Foreign Secretary.

Asked how the government should respond to provocations from across the border, Mr. Sinha said his party was not advocating war. “We are confused about talks and war. There is a huge space between talks and war.” This space had not been used by the Indian government.

He said Pakistan must be told to keep its promise made in 2004 — not to allow its soil to be used for direct attacks on India.

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