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Antony now says Pak Army did it
LoC killings Warns neighbour of impact on ties; BJP welcomes statement
Aditi Tandon & Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 8
Two days after the killing of five Indian soldiers along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch, India today directly blamed the Pakistan Army for the act, warning the neighbour of possible consequences and its impact on relations between the two countries.

Under attack from the BJP for exonerating Pakistan earlier by saying that terrorists in Pak Army uniforms had killed the Indian jawans, Defence Minister AK Antony today came back to Parliament to admit that specialist troops of the Pakistani Army were involved in the attack.

Antony displayed further aggression saying nothing on the Pakistan side of the LoC happened without the support, assistance, facilitation and often the direct involvement of the Pakistan Army.

The Opposition BJP heartily welcomed the statement in the Lok Sabha with Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj congratulating the Defence Minister for “rectifying his mistake of diluting India’s stand on the issue”. She later slammed the Congress for blaming the BJP for politicising the matter saying “we were only trying to reveal a serious lapse that has now been corrected. The House is with the government in warning Pakistan on this count”.

The government’s toughness of stand followed exclusive drafting of Antony’s statement by the Ministry of Defence today after he reached his South Block office at 8 am to consult the Army Chief, the Defence Secretary and ministry officials before finalising a politically defining note that he read in the Lok Sabha around noon. The note sharply contrasted the diplomatic statement which the PMO, the MEA and the NSA drafted collectively yesterday.

Antony cautioned Pakistan against taking India’s restraint for granted while clarifying, “When I reported the incident to the House … my statement was based on the available information. Since the Chief of Army Staff has visited the area and gone into details …it is now clear that specialist units of the Pakistan Army were involved in the attack ….We all know nothing happens from Pakistan side of the LoC without the support, assistance, facilitation and often direct involvement of Pak Army.”

The government also used the occasion to ask Pakistan to punish those responsible for the killing of two Indian soldiers earlier this year and show “determined action to dismantle terror networks, organisations and infrastructure besides bringing perpetrators of the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks to justice”.

Reassuring the country on the armed forces’ capacity to guard the borders and the government’s resolve to uphold sanctity of the LoC, Antony cautioned Pakistan: “Naturally this incident will have consequences on our behaviour on the LoC and for our relations with Pak. Our restraint should not be taken for granted.”

Antony’s fresh statement in the LS today matched his public stance on cross-border terrorism and his remarks that nothing on the Pakistan side of LoC happens without the role of Pakistan Army is the stand the Army and intelligence agencies have held for years.

The statement is also closer to Home Ministry’s view on the matter and though it undid most of the damage done yesterday, the Lok Sabha, however, again plunged into chaos after Speaker Meira Kumar disallowed clarifications on the same despite leaders’ requests.

When she pressed with the Zero Hour amid din, BJP’s LK Advani objected sternly, “I have never seen such disorder in the House. No minister from the Treasury is sitting. The PM is not there; the Leader of House is absent; Parliamentary Affairs Minister is missing. Either bring the House to order or adjourn it.” Taking a cue from Advani, the Speaker adjourned the proceedings till 2 pm and later for the day.

Defence Minister AK Antonyspecial troops behind attack

  • Defence Minister AK Antony (pic) said when he reported the incident to the House, his statement was based on the information available then
  • Since the Army Chief has visited the area and gone into details, it is now clear that specialist units of the Pakistan Army were involved in the attack
  • Nothing happens from the Pakistan side without the support, assistance, facilitation and often direct involvement of Pakistan Army, he said





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