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Antony warns Pakistan of ‘consequences’

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 19, 2013
First Published: 23:19 IST(19/8/2013) | Last Updated: 02:23 IST(20/8/2013)

Defence minister AK Antony on Monday warned Pakistan that India would “effectively retaliate” against each instance of ceasefire violation along the Line of Control (LoC), making it clear that the continuing border tension would have “consequences” for bilateral ties.

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At a time Pakistan has escalated tensions along the volatile border by unprovoked ceasefire violations, the defence minister told the Rajya Sabha that the capacity of the armed forces and resolve of the government to uphold the sanctity of the LoC should not be doubted.

Antony was replying to clarifications sought by MPs on the statement he had made in Lok Sabha on August 8, two days after the Poonch attack in which five soldiers were killed.

In a related development, it is learnt army chief General Bikram Singh on Monday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and updated him on the situation along the LoC.

“We understand the mood of the nation and the Parliament…the country’s emotions are behind our armed forces,” Antony said. His comments came a week after he virtually gave a free hand to the Indian Army saying it had the freedom to respond effectively to ceasefire violations.

Antony gave out figures in the House to underline that ceasefire violations had rocketed in recent weeks — there have been an unprecedented 24 violations since the August 6 cross-border raid. The ceasefire pact was signed in November 2003.

In 2011, Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire 61 times followed by 117 violations in 2012, compared to 82 such incidents this year so far, the minister said.

In a hardened stance against Islamabad, Antony reiterated that it was well known that nothing happened on the LoC without “support and facilitation” and often, “direct involvement” of the Pakistan army.


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