Flag meeting inconclusive

India, Pakistan refuse to budge

Flag meeting inconclusive

A brigadier-level flag meeting between the Indian and Pakistani armies on Monday failed to reach any breakthrough as both sides stuck to their stated positions and did not accept allegations of initiating ceasefire violations along the Line of Control.

While the Indian Army strongly put across its demand of returning the severed head of one soldier, Pakistani officials completely denied any knowledge of the killing that has enraged the nation. Jammu-based Public Relations Officer of the Defence Ministry, Col R K Patla told Deccan Herald that the flag meeting at Chakan da Bagh in Poonch started at 1 pm and lasted for around half an hour.

“It was conveyed in no uncertain terms that repetition of such acts will not be tolerated and the Indian Army reserves the right to retaliate at the place and time of our own choosing in case they recur,” the Army headquarters said in a statement in Delhi.

The Indian delegation was led by 10 Brigade commander at Krishnaghati, Brigadier T S Sandhu, who lodged a strong protest against beheading of soldiers by Pakistani troopers last week. The 32-minute meeting was the first on-ground contact between the two armies since tension built up at the border.  A spokesperson at the Army headquarters in Delhi said it was conveyed to the Pakistani delegation that not only such a dastardly and cowardly act unacceptable, but it was also a premeditated attempt to undermine the Cease Fire Agreement of 2003.

The Indian officials expressed grave concern over the barbarism by the Pakistani troops in the recent ambush on an Indian patrol in the Mendhar sector.

Pakistan, however, refuted the allegations. The inter-services public relations has issued a statement in Rawalpindi stating that Pakistan strongly rejected India’s allegations that Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked firing, attacking Indian posts or killing Indian soldiers.

At the flag meeting, Pakistan lodged a protest with the Indian military authorities against continuous ceasefire violations, including an attempted raid by Indian troops on LOC in the last one week, in which two Pakistani soldiers, Havildar Ghulam Mohyuddin and Naik Muhammad Aslam died while one sepoy, Waseem, was injured. The Indian statement took note of Pakistan’s denial. “Their response was on expected lines wherein they stated that no ceasefire violation has been initiated by their troops,” it said.

Leader of the Pakistani delegation not only denied involvement in the killing of Indian soldiers and ceasefire violations, but also reiterated that Indian troops crossed the Line of Control, killing one Pakistani soldier and injuring another. Talking to reporters in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, Lt General Om Prakash, said: “We put across the facts (in flag meeting), the kind of atrocities they (Pakistanis) have done, the ambushing of our patrol in the Poonch sector wherein they have done inhuman act by beheading a solider.

“Though there have been a large number of ceasefire violations by the Pakistani troops, we have taken adequate measures and when required, we have retaliated.”

Prakash said there were inputs suggesting that Pakistan was pushing infiltrators into India under the garb of ceasefire violation.

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