South Asia
Pakistan PM 'sad' over LoC killings

08 Aug 2013

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Islamabad, Aug 8: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday expressed 'sadness' over the recent incidents on the Line of Control (LoC) which left five Indian soldiers dead even as the episode cast a shadow over the prospective meeting between him and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

 "Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has expressed his sadness over the recent incidents on the Line of Control (LoC) which has resulted into flaring up of tensions between India and Pakistan and loss of precious human lives," Pakistan\'s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Thursday.

The Prime Minister expressed these views during a briefing by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials at the Foreign Office on Thursday.

Sharif said: "It was imperative for both India and Pakistan to take effective steps to ensure and restore ceasefire on the Line of Control."

The Prime Minister, during the briefing, also emphasized that existing military to military channels could be more optimally utilized to prevent misunderstanding and not allowing situation to escalate. 

He said Pakistan is prepared to discuss steps with India for further strengthening of existing mechanisms both at the political and military levels.

Sharif said: "It is incumbent upon the leadership of both sides not to allow the situation to drift and to take steps to improve the atmosphere by engaging constructively with a view to building trust and confidence."

Sharif said he was looking forward to his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. 

"During the meeting, we will discuss steps to further build trust and consolidate this relationship," he said.

Sharif reiterated the resolve that Pakistan will persist in its efforts to improve relations with India through a constructive dialogue on all issues.

The meeting between Singh and Sharif seems uncertain as India\'s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Thursday kept the South Asian nation guessing over the issue.

Khurshid said India needs to \'proceed with caution\'.

Meanwhile, quelling the ruckus over his own and his ministry\'s contradictory versions over the killing of Indian soldiers along the LoC, Defence Minister AK Antony on Thursday made a fresh statement in the Lower House of the Indian Parliament holding that special troops of the Pakistani Army were involved in the attack.

Antony said his earlier statement- which said terrorists in Pakistani army uniform carried out the attack- was based on the available information.

"My statement was based on the available information," Antony said after drawing a flak from Opposition since his own ministry had said that the attackers were Pakistani army regulars.

With the Army Chief General Bikram Singh visiting Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday and briefing the Defence Minister, Antony agreed that nothing happens along the LoC without the support of the Pakistani Army.

"It is now clear that the special troop of the Pakistani Army was involved in the attack. We know that no ambush is possible at LoC without the support of Pakistani army," Antony said.

Sending a strong message to the neighbouring country, he said," Those in Pakistan who are responsible for this tragedy should not go unpunished."

"Pakistan should also show determined action," he said.

Antony also said this tragedy will have a bearing on the Indo-Pak relationship.

"This will affect our relationship with Pakistan, in policies and our behavior at the Line of Control," he said.

The five Indian soldiers, who were killed in an ambush by Pakistani trooperson Tuesday along the LoC in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir, were cremated at their respective villages in Maharashtra and Bihar on Thursday.

Four of the soldiers were from 21 Battalion of Bihar Regiment and one from the 14th Maratha Light Infantry Regiment.




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