Jawan killed; India for flag meet | india | Hindustan Times
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Jawan killed; India for flag meet

Army shows restraint, seeks flag meeting with Pakistani officials. Rahul Singh and Arun Joshi report.

india Updated: May 20, 2008 01:41 IST
Rahul Singh and Arun Joshi

A soldier from the Gorkha Rifles was killed in grenade firing at a forward post along the Line of Control in the Mendhar sector in Poonch district on Monday morning.

Details of Monday’s attack are still hazy and senior officers in Army Headquarters could not confirm if Pakistani troops had opened a burst of UBGL (under barrel grenade launcher) and light machine gun fire or if it was the handiwork of terrorists attempting to infiltrate into India. Sporadic firing lasted some 10-12 minutes. The Indian Army has sought a flag meeting with Pakistani officials to get to the bottom of the matter.

A senior officer told HT, “It is hard to pinpoint at this stage as to the direction from which the fire came. We are investigating if the grenade was fired from the other side. We do not want to jump the gun as cross-border firing is a serious violation of the ceasefire along the LoC”.

Intelligence sources told HT, “We don’t know whether it is a macro decision, but what we do know is that there is a micro section within the Pakistani Army that is trying to take advantage of the weak government in Pakistan”.

This time, the army could be wisely practicing restraint considering that the India-Pakistan dialogue is delicately poised at this juncture. Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon will be holding discussions with his Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir in Islamabad on Tuesday.

The dialogue will be followed by meetings between External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and his counterpart Shah Mehmud Qureshi on Wednesday. The meetings are significant, as they herald a resumption of high-level political contact with the newly elected government in Pakistan.

Pakistani military authorities had initially denied that its troops had violated the four-year-old ceasefire in the Tangdhar sector recently. However, the authorities agreed to investigate the matter after the Indian Army confronted them with visual evidence at a brigade-level flag meeting.