At UN, India cautions Pakistan its forces 'will respond to provocation'

At UN, India cautions Pakistan its forces 'will respond to provocation'

At UN, India cautions Pakistan its forces 'will respond to provocation'

In a series of back-and-forth exchanges at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), India cautioned Pakistan that its forces are ready and "will respond to provocations" and that firing on innocent civilians will only hamper normalisation of relations.

Responding to Pakistan raising Tuesday the recent exchange of fire along the Line of Control, Indian UN Mission's First Secretary Devesh Uttam said, "Let everyone be assured that our armed forces and paramilitary forces are fully ready and they will respond to provocation."

Ignoring the casualties on the Indian side, Pakistan's UN Ambassador Masood Khan had told the UNGA that four people had been killed by the Indian firing and said that the UN Military Observer Group (UNMOGIP) "must be enabled to play its role in monitoring the ceasefire." 

He also recalled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's assertions last month at the UNGA on UN having a role in the Kashmir dispute.

In response, Uttam cited the casualties sustained by India. He said, "It is a matter of deep regret that Pakistan has violated the ceasefire and their unprovoked firing has led to loss of civilian lives on the Indian side. Six persons have been killed and 50 injured."

He added, "The onus of creating a positive environment is on Pakistan which is utterly failing to do so."

Setting off a second round of exchanges, Pakistan's delegate responded by reiterating Islamabad's assertions about the casualties, but injected a conciliatory note while also raising the cancellation of bilateral talks. 

"We also extended a hand of friendship to India," the delegate said. "However, first the abrupt cancellation of (foreign) secretary-level talks and now this, unprovoked firing is cause of deep concern. We hope the Indian side would give peace a chance."

The delegate also said, "It is sad that the Indian Government failed to restrain its forces despite strong diplomatic protest by Pakistan."

In exercising India's right of reply to the Pakistan's second round, the Indian delegate said, "We reject all the untenable and unsolicited remarks made by Pakistan."

Pakistan tenaciously tried to start a third round saying that a working boundary had to be preserved and reiterated comments about the role of the UNMOGIP.