On a day Pakistan finally agreed to a flag meeting to defuse tension along the volatile LoC, the Indian Army chief is believed to have told his top general in the border state that the force reserved the right to retaliate at a place and time of its choosing.
In a cross-border morning raid on January 8, a group of Pakistani soldiers came 500 metres deep into Indian territory in Poonch’s Mendhar sector, killed two army men and took away the head of one of the soldiers as trophy, triggering several rounds of firing from both sides. The situation along the Line of Control remains tense with reports of exchange of fire coming in.
The brigade-commander level flag meeting will be held at Chakan-Da-Bagh in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday, four days after India sought such a contact.
It is learnt that army chief General Bikram Singh has told northern army commander Lt Gen KT Parnaik that the force reserved its right to retaliate against Pakistan.
The chief made it clear to his top commanders that action had to be taken against any provocation in a professional manner, sources said. A top commander in J&K told HT that General Singh also said that “moral ascendancy” be maintained and the LoC be guarded effectively by observation and fire.
“They killed two of our boys and we killed two of theirs. But their act was gruesome, not in the spirit of the Geneva Convention. Our army has gained moral ascendancy over theirs,” former army vice-chief Lt Gen Vijay said.
Pakistan agreed to the flag meeting a day after India's senior-most military commander, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, said the country might have to look at “some other options for compliance”, if Pakistan continued to breach the November 2003 ceasefire. Reacting to the statement, Pakistan navy said it was capable of repelling any border attack.