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HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

Border still tense as India, Pakistan try to keep peace process on track

Jayanth Jacob , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 10, 2013
First Published: 15:48 IST(10/1/2013) | Last Updated: 13:05 IST(11/1/2013)

Despite the sneak-attack from across the Line of Control that left two jawans mutilated and strained India-Pakistan relations severely, New Delhi is working overtime to keep the peace process alive.

Meanwhile, yet another ceasefire violation was reported on Thursday in the Poonch sector in Jammu and Kashmir, the scene of Tuesday's attack. Pakistan said it lost a soldier in an exchange of fire. It accused the Indian side of provoking a border clash, which was rejected by the Indian Army.

Positive statements about peace, however, are emanating from Pakistan also, with foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar saying in Islamabad: “Both the countries will show their commitment to correct (the situation).”

Indian foreign minister Salman Khurshid said on Wednesday: “We cannot and must not allow the escalation of any unwholesome event like this…. We have to be careful that forces attempting to derail all the good work are not successful.”

Indian officials said efforts were on to defuse the tension, with director generals of military operations (DGMOs) and divisional commanders of both the countries were in constant touch to sort out the differences.

However, the strain in the ties is palpable. India told Pakistan that “repugnant and gruesome behaviour” of Pakistan army makes New Delhi draw “appropriate conclusion” about Pakistan's “desire” for bilateral ties.

Experts say it should be analysed as to why Pakistan army has done something that is unprecedented at this juncture. “There have been violations of ceasefire. But this is a very brutal incident that calls for strong protest,” said Lalit Mansingh, a former foreign secretary.

An Indian official said, “We have asked Pakistan to take action against those who did this (attacking and mutilating Indian soldiers). We need to give some time to them for that, after which we can think of the next course of action.”

But as part of the efforts to keep the peace process on the rails, home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said on Thursday that the new visa agreement implemented in December last year would not be affected.


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