Army will retaliate against truce violations: Antony

New Delhi, Aug 19 : The army has mobilised all its resources to effectively retaliate to any ceasefire violation by Pakistan, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said Monday.

Replying to clarifications from members in the Rajya Sabha on his statement on the Aug 6 attack near the Line of Control (LoC) that left five Indian soldiers dead, Antony said the government was taking the incident "very very seriously" and that armed forces would take every step to protect the sanctity of the LoC.

Earlier, Antony read out the statement he made in the Lok Sabha Aug 8 on the "unprovoked attack" on Indian troops along LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.

Members from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Communist Party of India sought clarifications from him about his reference to consequences of the LoC incident.

Leader of opposition Arun Jaitley made an indirect query on speculation that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could meet his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the UN meet next month.

"Do we start the process of engagement at the highest level? Rules of engagement are clear. Engage when an environment is there," he said.

He said "incursions and provocations from Pakistan were increasing even as the civilian government there talks of peace".

Antony said the government fully understands the sentiments of the house.

In his statement, the defence minister said that the killing of five Indian soldiers "will have consequences on our behaviour on the Line of Control and for our relations with Pakistan".

He said ceasefire violations happen every year but their frequency has caused concerns, noting there had been 24 ceasefire violations between Aug 6 and 6 a.m. Monday (Aug 19).

There had been 82 ceasefire violations by Pakistan this year against 70 in 2012, he said.

"Everything is in my statement. Do not want to elaborate," he said, and added that the paragraphs had been prepared with great deliberation.

In his statement, Antony said the "brutal and unprovoked attack" on an Indian patrol on our side of LoC had outraged the country and accused "specialist troops of Pakistan Army" of involvement.

Antony also referred to his statement of Aug 7 which had created a controversy as it did not directly blame the Pakistan army for the incident, saying it was based on information then available and there was some confusion. However, he did not elaborate.

--IANS (Posted on 20-08-2013)

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