Pakistan says Indian Army chief's remarks 'provocative'

Pakistan says Indian Army chief's remarks 'provocative'

Pakistan today described Indian Army chief Gen Bikram Singh's remarks about retaliating against any possible ceasefire violations on the LoC as "provocative and unfortunate".

"The (chief military spokesman) has already given a statement. Yesterday even (Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to the premier on Foreign Affairs) said it was a regrettable statement. It is provocative and unfortunate," Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said.

"This kind of statement, this kind of assertion spoils the atmosphere," she told a weekly news briefing. She said Pakistan wants to maintain tranquillity on the Line of Control (LoC).

"With this in view, our Director General of Military Operations invited his Indian counterpart for talks. They had a constructive meeting. They agreed on a number of measures. We expect India to abide by the agreement," Aslam said while responding to a question.

On January 13, speaking to reporters in New Delhi ahead of Army Day, Singh said India would respond in equal measure if Pakistan breaks any rules or violates the truce on the LoC.

He rejected the perception that the Indian military has not retaliated against the beheading of one of its soldiers by Pakistani troops last year.

"Let me assure you that action has been taken... If I can invite the attention to the Geo TV report on December 23 which talked of their one officer and nine jawans being killed with 12-13 being wounded. This has happened due to firing of your soldiers on ground," Singh said.

Asked about repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan on the LoC, Singh said: "It depends, if rules are followed by our neighbours, we follow the rules. If rules are broken, then obviously we cannot stick to the rules."

India's "endeavour is not to escalate the situation" and only to give a "befitting response in a professional manner at the place where we are fired upon", he added.

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