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Beheading unpardonable, we’ll retaliate: Army Chief
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 14
In a stern warning to Pakistan, Army Chief General Bikram Singh today upped the ante saying India would retaliate militarily to the gruesome beheading of its soldier. It was an unpardonable act and its long-term strategic impact had been conveyed to India’s western neighbour, he said.

Addressing the annual Army Day press conference, he said: “I have given clear directions. Retaliate to firing (from across the Line of Control). Uphold ceasefire as long as adversary upholds it. When fired at, we will respond immediately.”

Virtually laying down the rules of engagement for his officers, the Army Chief said: “I expect all my commanders along the LoC to be aggressive and offensive in the face of provocation and fire.”

On the January 8 beheading of an Indian soldier, he said it was a “gruesome, most unpardonable act which defies logic and is against the ethics of a professional soldier”. He said, “We will respond in the same manner. We reserve the right to retaliate at the time and place of our choosing.” He went on to add in Hindi: “Hum unko jawab dengey, pucca hai (we will respond, for sure).”

He also contradicted claims of the Pakistan Army that the Indian Army had carried out an operation on January 6 and that the Pakistan Army had only responded on January 8. “There was no operation undertaken by us on January 6. The Pak army was allegedly looking at justifying and legitimising their action (of January 8). Their campaign is based on lies,” he said.

In response to a question if the Pakistan Army had beheaded Indian soldiers of the 20 Kumaon regiment in July 2011, the Army Chief said: “That did happen.”

On the January 8 incident, he said: “Prima facie there were tactical errors. We will go into that and correct. However, there is no probe at this stage.” On being asked if there was any possibility of the Lashkar-e-Toiba having played a role in the incident, he said, “The possibility cannot be ruled out. The Pak army has this tool. However, our reports say it was carried out by the Special Services Group. They are Pak army regulars.”

LoC tension: PM speaks to Jaitley, Sushma

New Delhi: Amid tension with Pakistan on the LoC, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday spoke to BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj and assured them that the Opposition would be kept in loop over the situation. He told them that NSA Shivshankar Menon would brief them on Tuesday on the developments on the LoC where tension prevails. The PM said the Opposition would be kept in loop over the situation and appealed to them that the issue should not be politicised. — PTI

It (beheading of Indian soldier) was a gruesome, most unpardonable act. We will respond in the same manner. We reserve the right to retaliate at the time and place of our choosing. Hum unko jawab dengey, pucca hai. — Gen Bikram Singh, Army Chief






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