Antony retracts his statement on LoC killings, pacifies opposition
Specialist troops of the Pakistan army carried out the cross-border raid that left five Indian soldiers dead and one injured on Tuesday, defence minister AK Antony said on Thursday, two days after he triggered a huge controversy by blaming the ambush on terrorists. Rahul Singh reports. Poll: Should PM keep his meeting date with Nawaz Sharif later this year?Updated: Aug 09, 2013 04:12 IST
Specialist troops of the Pakistan army carried out the cross-border raid that left five Indian soldiers dead and one injured on Tuesday, defence minister AK Antony said on Thursday, two days after he triggered a huge controversy by blaming the ambush on terrorists.
In a fresh statement in Parliament, Antony said, "It is now clear the specialist troops of Pakistan army were involved in this attack."
The BJP, which had accused Antony of giving Pakistan a clean chit and paralysed Parliament for two days, said it was satisfied with the minister's response.
With Parliament closed for Eid on Friday followed by the weekend, the government can hope for tempers to cool further and some business to be transacted on Monday.
He warned Pakistan that the strike would have consequences for bilateral ties and the Indian Army's "behaviour" on the line of control (LoC).
'Specialists' refers to the Pakistan army's special services group, an elite wing that carries out covert operations. It took part in the 1965 and 1971 wars against India and supported Mujahideen fighters against the Soviet Union in the 1980s.
"Nothing happens from Pakistan's side of the LoC without the support, assistance, facilitation and often direct involvement of the Pakistan army," he said.
The BJP came out in support of the government, saying the matter stood closed as the government had accepted its mistake and rectified it.
"The Opposition supports your statement and we have been successful in saying in one voice that Pakistan cannot resort to such acts," leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said. The party, however, insisted that no talks should be held with the neighbouring country.
"Our restraint should not be taken for granted," said Antony, who on Tuesday told Parliament that the Indian soldiers were ambushed by 20 heavily armed terrorists "along with persons dressed in Pakistan army uniforms".
The statement contradicted the official version (later retracted) of the army that had said the soldiers were attacked by the Pakistan army's border action team. Antony made the new statement after obtaining more details from army chief General Bikram Singh, who had visited Nagrota outside Jammu on Wednesday.
The minister said he had made the first statement based on the facts available then.
Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj said she was grateful to the defence misinster for correcting his mistake:
* The whole House supports Antony's statement
* This sends a strong message to Pakistan. The shouldn't take us for granted
* The defence minister should take steps and tell us how he intends to prevent such incidents
* We are not here only to play politics
Other political reactions
* Our demand to end talks with Pakistan still holds
* We still want a debate on the broader issue of terror and intrusions
* Satisfied with Antony's statement in the Parliament, all issues we were raising have been covered
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* Antony made the first statement because Parliament wanted a statement quickly
* If media is telling us what to do, you might as well tell the Opposition too
* We as Cabinet members do things that are specific to our areas, we can't shoulder responsibility and leave it to the PM
* The defence minister's statement today was based on reports from the Army chief after speaking to his troops