In a stern warning to Pakistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said that it cannot be business as usual after the brutal beheading of an Indian soldier on the Line of Control in Poonch sector in Jammu and Kashmir last week.
In his first comments after the January 8 killing of two Indian soldiers on the LoC by Pakistani Army regulars who also beheaded one of them, Dr. Singh stressed that those responsible for the barbaric act of beheading of Lance Naik Hemraj should be brought to book. He expressed hope that Pakistan would realise this.
"After this barbaric act there cannot be business as usual (with Pakistan),’’ Dr. Singh said while responding to questions by journalists here at the Army Day reception, hosted by the Army Chief General Bikram Singh.
When it was pointed out to him that Pakistan remained in a denial mode on the cross-LoC raid and ambush of Indian soldiers, the Prime Minister said: "We will keep on trying".
Asked about the options vis-a-vis Pakistan, he said that these could not be discussed in the open. Dr. Singh’s comments came a day after the Army Chief gave a tough message to Pakistan, saying that India reserved its right to retaliate at a time and place of its choosing.
It's Barbaric says Khurshid
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid also told journalists that India has taken a "very firm position" with Pakistan on the issue of beheading an Indian soldier. He said the was "totally unacceptable and barbaric.’’
Asked about Monday’s Flag Meeting between India and Pakistan on the LoC, Mr. Khurshid said: "We may not be happy with the outcome but the process is still on.’’
The Prime Minister had spoken to senior BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley on Monday and assured them of keeping the Opposition in loop about decisions relating to Pakistan. The BJP had criticised the Prime Minister for his silence on the issue and not sending a strong message to Pakistan.
According to PTI reports, after his tough talk at the Army Day reception, Dr. Singh met President Pranab Mukherjee and briefed him on the situation.