While talking tough, India has suggested a flag meeting on the Line of Control with Pakistan to sort out the skirmishes that have led to the death of four soldiers from both sides since Sunday.
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, say government sources.
On the other hand, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said on Friday 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.” The Minister, however, did not elaborate. “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 back [killing of two Indian soldiers and the beheading of one] were a turning point,” the Minister said.
“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. The government, in a coordinated manner, is closely monitoring the situation and we will take every step to protect our interest and prestige of our armed forces,” he added.
India requested a flag meeting on a day when the Pakistan Foreign Office summoned High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal to complain about the firing purportedly from the Indian side of the LoC that killed a Pakistani soldier on Thursday.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Syed Akbaruddin, while informing the media about the position taken by the High Commissioner in Islamabad, reiterated New Delhi’s position that it was “capable” of resolving bilaterally the issue that did not brook mediation by the United Nations or any other country.
Mr. Sabharwal had told the Pakistani side that Indians had opened fire in response to “unprovoked firing” from the other side. He also noted that the DGMOs of both the countries were in “regular touch.”