We have enough firepower, says Antony

While talking tough, India has suggested a flag meeting on the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan to sort out the skirmishes that led to the death of four soldiers from both sides since Sunday.

Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal, on being summoned to the Pakistan Foreign Office in Islamabad on Friday, said New Delhi had undertaken a “controlled response” to “unprovoked firing” from across the LoC.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony said the government was closely monitoring the situation and “will take every step to protect our interest and the prestige of our armed forces.”

The Army has suggested a brigadier-level meeting at Baloni in the Mendhar sector, one of the four spots on the LoC where flag meetings are usually held. There has been no response from the Pakistani side so far, said government sources.

In case Pakistan suggests another place for a flag meeting, a decision would be made by consensus, the sources said.

Mr. Antony asserted that India had enough firepower on the border to take care of any situation, and described the beheading of an Indian soldier on Tuesday as a “turning point of the moment.”

“It is not an isolated incident. Ceasefire violations and infiltration attempts are increasing. It is a matter of concern to us and the tragic, provocative actions two days ago [killing of two Indian soldiers and the beheading of one] were a turning point,” said Mr. Antony.

“We are closely monitoring the whole development and Indian troops are on alert. At the same time, we have directed the DGMO [Director-General of Military Operations] to be in touch with his counterpart. Let’s see the result of that talk.”

India requested a flag meeting on a day the Pakistan Foreign Office summoned Mr. Sabharwal to complain about the firing purportedly from the Indian side of the LoC that killed a Pakistani soldier on Thursday. External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin, informing the media of the position taken by the Indian High Commissioner, also said India was “capable” of resolving the issue bilaterally and does not brook mediation by the United Nations or any other country. He also noted that DGMOs of both countries were in “regular touch.”

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