Rejecting Pakistan’s allegations, Army chief Gen Bikram Singh on Wednesday said Indian troops have not crossed Line of Control (LoC) or indulged in unprovoked firing and any casualty on the other side may have been due to retaliatory firing.
“Our jawans don’t cross LoC. We honour human rights. We fire in retaliation when provoked,” he said here after meeting the family of Lance Naik Hemraj, who was beheaded by Pakistani soldiers in a cross-LoC attack in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir on January 8.
Responding to the Pakistani charge that one of its soldiers was killed in “unprovoked firing” along LoC, the Army chief said it might have happened during cross-firing.
“These are normal activities that take place at LoC. We have retaliated in response to cross-firing,” he said.
Replying to questions, Singh said, “The relationship (between the two countries) is got to be seen on what has been going on at the border”.
The Pakistan Army had alleged that Indian troops had violated the ceasefire along LoC on Tuesday night and “carried out unprovoked firing” in Hotspring and Jandrot sectors.
On the possibility of getting back the head of Hemraj, which was taken away by Pakistani soldiers, the Army chief said efforts are being made to get it back.
Gen. Singh, however, refused to respond to Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar’s statement that the Indian Army chief’s comments were “provocative”, saying he was yet to read the statement.
He met the family of Hemraj and offered his condolences.
He assured them that all their requirements will be met.
Talking about the supreme sacrifice of Hemraj, Gen. Singh said his purpose here was to meet the deceased’s family. “This is an expression of solidarity and concern. We respect the supreme sacrifice of the soldier Hemraj. When a soldier gives his supreme sacrifice, we have to respect it,” he said.
On the demands made by the family, he said, “We will try and honour the demands of the family. All the requirements of the family will be fulfilled by the Army as per rules. We will ensure that the family gets its right and all their aspirations are met.”
He said it is his endeavour to meet the families of all soldiers who have made supreme sacrifice in the line of duty and he and his wife try to meet as many of them.
Gen. Singh said there are 10,800 ‘veer naris’ (wives of slain soldiers), in the country, but it is not possible to meet all of them, admitting though that it is his duty to meet all of them.