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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

LoC killings: Air chief hawkish, Khurshid plays dove

Rahul Singh & Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 12, 2013
First Published: 22:09 IST(12/1/2013) | Last Updated: 07:25 IST(13/1/2013)

India’s senior-most military commander, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, said on Saturday that the country might have to look at “some other options for compliance” if Pakistan continued to breach the 2003 ceasefire pact.

Rooting for a more aggressive approach, Browne said any violation of the established structures and mechanisms on the LoC were “totally unacceptable”. But he refused to divulge the options India could go for, saying they could not be discussed in public.

This came on a day when foreign minister Salman Khurshid made it clear India would not be “pressured by wild calls for revenge” over the killing and mutilation of two Indian soldiers on Tuesday.

Khurshid hoped Pakistan would follow a similar approach. In fact, Pakistan’s commerce minister will visit India for an investment meet in Agra on January 27 despite the growing unease between the two neighbours.

But the foreign minister also said the way the Indian soldiers were killed and their bodies treated “is unacceptable and must be explained”. India still awaits an explanation from Pakistan.

What’s more, Pakistan has still not agreed to a flag meeting with the Indian Army in the Mendhar sector even two days after India proposed the meeting to defuse the tension along the border.

Former BJP president Rajnath Singh said India should recall its high commissioner to Pakistan and scale down the level of diplomatic ties after the killings. He said the incident indicated that Pakistan was not keen on improving relations.

But Khurshid stressed the need for “very responsible, sensible and moderate behaviour... We will do what is in the best interest of the country and peace, keeping in mind that there is a lot at stake”.

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