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Thursday, August 8, 2013

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6:25 pm: PM may not talk with Sharif, secretary level talks also off?

The Indian Prime Minister’s scheduled talks with his Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly can’t be ruled out completely, reports CNN-IBN.

However, talks between the foreign secretaries of the two nations may be off for now and given dates for the talks weren’t fixed, they’re unlikely to be set any time soon.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid today said it was not the “appropriate” time now to comment on possibility of such a meet.

Maintaining that he was not in a position to say anything as it was not the appropriate time, Khurshid told reporters,”Let’s wait for the appropriate time and we can take a call after all the inputs have to be brought in.”

He was asked if the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif will take place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meet next month in New York as was scheduled earlier.

6:05 pm: Joint celebrations between India-Pakistan called off

Joint India-Pakistan peace celebrations that were to be held on 14 August have been called off in light of the war of words over the incident on LoC.

The celebrations which were to be held near the Sindh-Rajasthan border in a location called Umerkot, have been called off, reported CNN-IBN. 

Meanwhile in Mumbai, the Shiv Sena has gone on a familiar track and has said that Pakistani artists should not be allowed to work in the Indian entertainment industry.

5.45 pm: India, Pak leaders shouldn’t allow situation to drift, says Nawaz Sharif

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has today said that both Indian and Pakistani leaders should not allow the LoC attack issue to drift.

“It is incumbent upon the leadership of both sides not to allow the situation to drift,” Sharif said.

He also said that it is imperative for India and Pakistan to take effective steps to restore ceasefire on Line of Control.

5.36 pm: Army inquiry likely on killing of 5 jawans

The Indian Army is likely to conduct an inquiry into the death of 5 soldiers of the 21 Bihar regiment. CNN-IBN reports suggest that the account of the only soldier who escaped with an injury will play a key role as he is the only witness of the Pakistan attack.

17.07 pm: Pak singer’s concert in Delhi put off

Strains on political ties between India and Pakistan have started to show on the cultural front as well as Pakistani Sufi singer Sanam Marvi’s concert at New Delhi’s India habitat centre was put off today.

4.51 pm: Digvijaya defends Antony, says BJP politicising issue

Defending Defence Minister AK Antony on the Poonch killings issue, senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh today accused the BJP of politicising an issue concerning national security.

“It is very unfortunate that the issue of national security is being politicised by the BJP. Antony is a very senior and experienced political leader,” Singh said on the controversy over Antony’s “contradictory” statements on Poonch killings.

Pakistan killing Indian soldiers was a highly condemnable act and has to be met strongly by the Indian Government, Singh said, adding, “However, the decision should be made after due consideration at the highest level.”

Speaking to reporters after meeting former External Affairs Minister S M Krishna at his residence here, Singh said the government’s hands shouldn’t be forced because all political parties in the past got together to fight any external threat. “Even the post-Indian history suggests this.”

Talking about the issue, Krishna said it is the “most preposterous” allegation anybody could make that Congress has adopted a soft stand on the issue of soldiers’ killings.

He said the UPA has always been serious about safeguarding the interests of the country and its borders without compromising on these issues.

Krishna said “India tried to extend its hands of friendship to Pakistan, but the neighbour did not substantially come forward.”

Quoting former US President Franklin D Roosevelt, he said, “we will have to keep the powder dry without using it,”, adding, “Let them (Pakistan) know we are strong enough to defend our borders and we shall.”

4.31 pm: Murli Manohar Joshi says enough ground to stop talks with Pak

The BJP and the CPI today differed over the issue of holding talks with Pakistan in the wake of killing of five Indian soldiers, with the main opposition saying there is sufficient ground not to hold dialogue with the neighbouring country.

“Five soldiers have been killed. Right now, there is sufficient ground to declare that the Indian Prime Minister will not hold any talks with Pakistan till they fulfil the commitment given to (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee…,” BJP leader MM Joshi said.

4.00 pm: Blaming us for Tuesday’s attack is unacceptable, says Pak minister

Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Thursday said India blaming Pakistan for the Tuesday attack was unacceptable.

Pakistan media reports quoted the minister as saying: “The area is at least five kilometres away from the Line of Control,” he said, adding that it was not possible for Pakistani soldiers to have been there.”

“Even if a cracker goes off in India, Pakistan is blamed for it,” Nisar said. Read more here.

3.19 pm: Nawaz Sharif calls emergency meeting to discuss LoC tension

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif summoned an emergency meeting today to discuss the fast growing tension with India over the exchange of fire along the Line of Control (LoC), Paksitan media reported.

Sharif called the meeting to discuss “the situation arising out of recent tension at the LoC.” The meeting will also discuss foreign policy and external challenges faced by the country, reported Xinhua. – IANS

2.35 pm: Another infiltration bid foiled by BSF

Border Security Forces along the LoC have foiled another infiltration bid by Pakistan  in Poonch district of Jammu Kashmir, Times Now reported.

Sources told the channel that the incident occurred at around 10.30 am this morning and BSF jawans successfully foiled the attempt.

More details are awaited.

1.35 pm: Jawans are born to be martyred, says Bihar minister

Bihar minister for Panchayati Raj Bhim Singh stoked controversy after he said jawans join the army only to be martyred.

Speaking to reporters in Bihar, Singh said, “jawans are born to be martyred. Why else do people join army and the police force?” He later apologised saying his comments were taken out of context.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had also asked the minister to withdraw his statement.

Meanwhile, the BJP slammed the minister for his remarks. Party spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said, “this is simply obnoxious, shocking and shameless… any word is less to condemn the statement.”

Four of the five jawans that were killed on Tuesday were from the state of Bihar.

1.20 pm: Ensure protection to our offices in India, says Pakistan

Pakistan on Thursday asked India to strengthen security around the Pakistan High Commission and Pakistan House, following demonstrations in New Delhi by ‘charged youths’ on Wednesday.

Dawn News quotes Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Aizaz Chaudhry as saying: “We summoned the Indian deputy high commissioner to the Foreign Office to stress that protection of the Pakistan High Commission and Pakistan House is the responsibility of the Indian government.. We called for strengthening security of Pakistan representation in New Delhi.”

Chaudhry further said that Pakistan remains committed to the 2003 ceasefire agreement. “Pakistan remains committed to the ceasefire agreement of 2003 which is an important confidence building measure and should be respected in letter and spirit.”

1.15 pm: Satisfied with Antony’s fresh statement, says BJP

Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said the BJP was quite satisfied with Defence Minister AK Antony’s fresh statement in Parliament.

“More or less we are satisfied with what the Defence minister said in Parliament… he has covered all the issues that we were raising,” Sinha said, adding that the Opposition’s demand that the government end talks with Pakistan still holds.

12.55 pm: Post Antony statement, Indo-Pak talks on hold?

Sources have told Times Now that Indo-Pak talks have been currently put on hold, post Defence Minister AK Antony’s statement in Lok Sabha.

Antony, in his statement earlier today, had said special troops of the Pakistan army were involved in the attack.

He also said such incidents would have an impact on India’s behaviour along the LoC as well as in its relations with Pakistan.

12.10 pm: Specialist troops of Pak army were involved, says Antony

Defence Minister AK Antony on Thursday issued a fresh statement in Lok Sabha blaming specialist troops of the Pakistan army for the attacks along the Line of Control.

“My earlier statement in the House was based on facts then.. the Chief of Army staff has visited the area.. it is now clear that specialist troops of Pakistan army were involved in the attack,” Antony said, adding that such incidents will have consequences on the Indian Army’s behaviour at the LoC as well as relations with Pakistan.

“India’s restraint should not be taken for granted.. the strength and capacity of our army should never be doubted,” he said.

“Nothing happens on Pakistan’s side of the LoC without the support or direct involvement of the Pakistan Army. Those involved in this attack as well as the January attack should not go unpunished..”

12.05 pm: Pak Army was involved, Army Chief tells Antony

The Pakistan Army was involved in the attack along the LoC, where five jawans of the Indian Army were killed, Army Chief Bikram Singh has reportedly said.

According to NDTV sources, the Army Chief has told Defence Minister AK Antony that Tuesday’s attack on jawans indeed had the support of the Pakistan Army.

11.00 am: Army Chief briefs Defence Minister Antony

Army Chief Bikram Singh who visited Jammu on Wednesday has briefed Defence Minsiter AK Antony on Tuesday’s attacks, media reports said.

The minister is likely to make a fresh statement in both Houses of Parliament later today.

Earlier in the day, MoS Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla speaking to reporters said Antony will make a fresh statement in Parliament after a briefing by the Army Chief.

10.45 am: Slain soldiers laid to rest after state funeral

The five soldiers killed along the Line of Control in Jammu were laid to rest on Thursday after a state funeral and guard of honour. 

Four jawans hailing from Bihar, Naik Prem Nath (35, Chappra), Lance Naik Shambhu Saran (29, Bhojpur), Sepoy Vijay Kumar Rai (27, Patna), Sepoy Ragunandan (23, Chhapra) and the 36-year-old Naik Pundalik Mane from Kolhapur in Maharastra, lost their lives in the attack.

9.40 am: Martyrs receive guard of honour

Four soldiers who were killed at the LoC were awarded a state funeral and a guard of honour by the Bihar government.

Funeral services were held at Chhapra and Damapur districts of Bihar early Thursday morning. The bodies of the five soldiers landed in Delhi yesterday.

Naik Kundlik Mane, from Nagpur also received the guard of honour along with a state funeral in Kolhapur.

Four of the soldiers were from the 21 Bihar regiment, while one was from the 14 Light Maratha Infantry.

8.30 am: Important to stand by Sharif, feels PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is in no mood to end dialogue with his Pakistani counterpart and will go ahead with scheduled talks when they meet at the UN General Assembly in September this year.

According to a Hindustan Times report quoting a UPA minister, Singh feels it is important to stand by Sharif, who too has been a victim of the Pakistani army.

“The Prime Minister believes this is the time to strengthen the hands of the civilian government led by Sharif,” the minister told the daily.

7.20 am: Govt likely to withdraw Antony statement

After two days of uproar in Parliament over Defence Minister AK Antony’s statement which, according to the BJP, gives Pakistan a clean chit, the government is likely to withdraw the statement and issue a fresh one.

The government is highly likely to issue a fresh statement on the killing of five Indian soldiers along the Line of Control in Poonch, Jammu & Kashmir by Pakistani troops.

Antony’s statement, in which he said that the Indian jawans had been killed by persons ‘dressed in Pakistani uniforms’, had caused massive outrage in Parliament because, as the BJP said, it gave the neighbouring country an easy exit route by which it could deny its role in the attack.

Updates for 08 August end

10.00 pm: Prime Minister’s office has said it did not change AK Antony’s statement.

According to a PTI report, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) rubbished as “mischievous” the reports that a statement on the killing of five Indian soldiers on the LoC was changed at its behest. CNN-IBN had reported that Antony’s statement might have been changed due to suggestions from the PMO.

“Such allegations being made are mischievous and have no basis,” a PMO spokesman said.

9.00 pm Did PMO water down Antony’s statement in Parl? 

According to a report on CNN-IBN, Defence Minister AK Antony might have changed his statement in the Parliament on the LoC attacks due to ‘suggestions’ from Prime Minister Office.

Antony has said in that parliament that terrorists in Pakistani Army uniform had attacked the Indian patrol unit. The BJP has alleged that this statement exonerates Pakistan from responsibility over the attacks and that he should apologise for it.

A press note from the Army however had said that terrorists along with Pak soldiers attacked the army unit. It was subsequently modified after Antony’s statement in Parliament.

8.20 pm Ceasefire violations continue across LoC as Pak troops open fire on army posts in Uri sector

According to a report by PTI Pakistan violated ceasefire in Uri sector along the Line of Control by opening indiscriminate fire on Indian posts. The report quoted army sources which said that the firing lasted nearly one hour.

No damage was reported on the Indian side. For more details on the attack click here.

8.09 pm Govt to issue clarification on Antony’s statement in the Parliament tomorrow, reports NDTV 

NDTV has reported that the government could issue a clarification on Defence Minister AK Antony’s statement in the Parliament tomorrow. You can view the tweet below:

6.43 pm: Bodies of the 5 jawans who were killed in attack along LoC reach Delhi

4 of the jawans were from Bihar and one from Maharashtra. Their bodies will now be taken to their hometowns and a memorial service will also be held today in Delhi.

The names of the Jawans are: Lance Naik Shambhu Sharan Rai from Ara, Bhojpur district; Sepoy Raghunandan Prasad and Naik Prem Nath Singh from Chapra Saran district; and Sepoy Vijay Kumar Rai from Bihta block in Patna district. The fifth, Pundalik Mane from Kolhapur in Maharashtra, belonged to the Maratha Light Infantry.

6.25 pm: Pakistan summons Indian deputy high commissioner

According to CNN-IBN reports, Pakistan has expresses concern over safety of its staff in Delhi and summoned the Indian deputy high commissioner over the protests that were held outside its high commission in New Delhi.

6:10 pm: PDP says attack on soldiers a provocation and we should not fall in a trap

“The attack on soldiers is an act of provocation but nations having stakes in regional stability and prosperity could avoid falling in trap laid by elements who  are uncomfortable with the growing prospect of amity between India and Pakistan,” PDP chief Mufti Mohammed Sayeed said in a statement here.

“We will have to rise above provocation and stay our course that has resulted in immense relief to people living in border areas,” the former Chief Minister said.

“While the loss of life of our jawans is unfortunate, it should not derail the process that alone can ensure peace and security in future. Jingoism will lead us nowhere,” the PDP
leader said.

5.40 pm Mayawati says government needs to clear its stance on the Pak attacks

The BSP leader said, “Army’s statement and Defence minster are different, which is a serious issue. The government should clear its stand in this matter.”

5.24 pm: RSS slams govt AK Antony for not naming Pakistan army

Condemning the Poonch killings as “heinous crime”, RSS today asked UPA Government not to hold talks with Pakistan during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s visit to the US on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meet unless his counterpart Nawaz Sharif “shows” he enjoys
control over his army.

“The Pakistan PM should show he enjoys control over his Army and only then should India venture into holding another round of talks with the Pakistani establishment,” RSS spokesman Ram Madhav told PTI here.

Madhav said it was “absurd” to hold talks with Pakistan if its Army continues to kill Indian soldiers on Indian soil. “Let Pakistan do enough to convince people of India that they are serious about good relations,” he said.

RSS was not against India holding dialogue with Pakistan, but doing so “by giving an impression of a weak and submissive power is not acceptable,” Madhav said.

Madhav said the whole country was shocked at Defence Minister A K Antony’s refusal to name Pakistan army as the perpetrators of the heinous crime of killing five Indian soldiers in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Instead, he (Antony) decided to give them (Pakistani Army) enough excuse to escape from their responsibility”,Madhav said rpt madhav said and slammed the defence minister for stating that people wearing Pakistani uniforms were in the ambush squad.

Madhav said Antony’s remarks were “highly irresponsible” and showed the Congress-led UPA Government lacked in strength and courage of conviction in protecting the Indian Army and country’s borders.

5.05 pm: Govt says LoC violations won’t be tolerated

Under attack from the opposition over the killing of soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch sector, the government today said that violation of the Line of Control will not be tolerated.

Both Houses of Parliament witnessed uproarius scenes over contradictory statements by Defence Minister A K Antony and the Army on the incident.

“The Defence Minister has made a very clear statement in the House. Now the Army chief has gone to the spot and whatever information he will get that will be conveyed to the nation.

“Violation of the LoC will not be allowed at any cost,” Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said outside Parliament House.

Asked about BJP’s demand for an apology from Antony over the contradictory statements on border incident, Shukla said, “I do not agree with it.

“In their (NDA) time, Parliamnent was attacked. What did they do?” Shukla asked and added, “BJP was trying to get political advantage out of it.”

However, BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said, “This is not NDA vs UPA. The issue here is what has happened on the border is not being told to Parliament. Actually the Defence Minister has provided an alibi to Pakistan government and that’s the issue.”

Attacking the opposition for demanding an apology from Antony, Congress leader Renuka Choudhury said ,”It has reached the level of absurdity in public life. The Defence Minister has categorically clarified that he had certain facts yesterday which he articulated.

“He said the Army chief is seized of the matter and further information is being gathered and he would share that with you. In the meantime, for BJP to talk like that to spread insecurity in the country and say that we have given a clean chit to Pakistan is nothing short of slanderous talk.”

She said, “I am a daughter of a soldier and I do not think soldiers want to hear things like this. They fight for the country at the borders. We are deeply concerned over those killings and we are proud of our jawans.”

3. 45 pm: How can it be business as usual, BJP asks PM

BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad hit out at the government saying it needs to answer on what basis it wants to continue talks with Pakistan.

“After five more soldiers have been killed, the Prime Minister should answer how it can be ‘business as usual’ with them,” Prasad said.

The BJP leader also tore into Defence Minister AK Antony’s statement asking him to come clear on what part of the statement he supported – that the attackers were Pakistan soldiers or they were  dressed in Pakistani army uniforms.

“I am forced to make these comments about the minister giving Pakistan an escape route under these suspicious circumstances,” he added.

3.05 pm: Food security is important but more than that is border security, says Sushma

“Food security is important, but more important is border security,” Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said during the introduction of the Food Security bill.

“We want the defence minister to come to the House and apologise. He has to make the situation clear,” she said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath responded to her saying when the Army chief returns from Jammu and briefs the Defence Minister, he will make an appropriate statement in the House.

2.00 pm: Protests outside Pakistan High Commission

Around 50 – 100 protesters gathered outside the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi shouting slogans against Pakistan, and demanding that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh take some action across the border.

1.50 pm: Pak, India army officials speak over hotline

Top military commanders of Pakistan and India on Wednesday spoke on hotline to reduce tensions along the Line of Control (LoC), with the Pakistan Army reiterating to strictly observe ceasefire, military sources said.

Directors General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of the two countries established contact a day after Indian and Pakistan militaries accused each other of violation of a 2003 ceasefire by resorting to firing, reported Xinhua. – IANS

1.10 pm: Two Pak soldiers wounded in fresh firing along LoC

A senior Indian Army officer in northern Kashmir said two Pakistani soldiers had been wounded – or possibly killed – in an exchange of machinegun fire in Kamalkot Uri sector in northern Kashmir around midday on Tuesday.

He said Pakistani troops had opened fire and Indian forces had retaliated. Read more here.

12.30: Will keep the House updated with latest info, says Antony

Defence Minister AK Antony responded to the Opposition in Rajya Sabha saying the statements he made on Tuesday were on the basis of the information he had at that time.

“When I made a statement in Parliament on such a crucial matter, I have to be careful about what I say.. that is why I made that statement… today the Army chief has gone to Jammu and once he returns I will keep the House updated with the latest information,” he said.

The Opposition, however, was not satisfied with his reply asking what was the need to make a statement if the minister was not sure about the information he had.

12.05 pm: No justificiation for holding talks with Pakistan, says Advani

Veteran BJP leader LK Advani, speaking to Times Now, slammed Defence Minister AK Antony saying he must explain the contradiction in his statement.

“The minister’s statement exonerates Pakistan.. there is a contradiction in what he is saying and what the ministry has said… he needs to explain this,” Advani said.

Advani also said the there was no justification for the government to hold talks with Pakistan after Tuesday’s attacks.

“If Pakistan can do what they have done, there is no justification for having talks with them,” he said.

11.30 am: Army Chief pays tribute to martyred soldiers

Army Chief General Bikram Singh on Wednesday paid tributes to the five martyred soldiers in Jammu.

Singh was unable to fly to Poonch district and visit the contingent due to bad weather.

11.10 am: Antony should apologise for giving Pakistan a clean chit, says BJP

Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj slammed Defence Minister AK Antony for giving Pakistan a clean chit saying he should immediately apologise to the country.

“The Defence minister has contradicted his own ministry.. he has given Pakistan a clean chit in the killings.. he should apologise before the country,” she said.

Antony, however, was not present in the House forcing Swaraj to call the attention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

In the Rajya Sabha, BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu sought clarification on Defence Minister AK Antony’s statement saying the minister has let down the country.

“What is wrong with this government? The minister and the ministry are saying two different things,” Naidu said.

10.35 am: Will Parliament pass resolution against Pakistan?

Tuesday’s attack is set to dominate Parliament again today with the Opposition likely to target the government over its policy on Pakistan.

The BJP has also said it would support any resolution in Parliament condemning yesterday’s attack, in order to send a strong message to Pakistan.

Meanwhile, cricketer Gautam Gambhir also ridiculed India’s relations with Pakistan, on Twitter.

10.20 am: Tuesday killings in retaliation against Indian Ops?

Tuesday’s ambush, highly-placed army sources have told Firstpost, was almost certainly carried out to retaliate against a series of successful Indian operations in the northern stretches of the Line of Control.

Early this month, Zafran Ghulam Sarwar, Wajid Akbar, Mohammad Wajid Akbar and Mohammad Faisal left their homes on the Pakistani side of the control in the Neelam valley, and never came back. Pakistan claims they were innocent herb collectors, who were kidnapped by an Indian special forces engaged in an offensive counter-terrorism operation across the Line of Control.

India says it has no idea what happened to the men. Not long after they disappeared, though, five still-unidentified men were shot dead by Indian troops in the same area, 500 metres on the Indian side of the Line of Control. Naresh Vij, an Indian army spokesperson, said troops had “not recovered any bodies as they are lying very far.” Read more here.

10.08 am: Army Chief Bikram Singh arrives in Jammu

Army Chief General Bikram Singh has arrived in Jammu, from where he will head to the ambush site. Singh is expected to meet the commanding officer and troops of the battalions whose troops were killed in the ambush, Army officials had said.

10.05 am: We don’t know what will happen next, fear Poonch villagers

Villagers living along the Line of Control in Poonch district are apprehensive of what the future holds for them. Peer Zahir Ahmad, 55, a resident of Khari village told Firstpost that before the ceasefire they had to keep migrating because of the continuous shelling along the LoC, and were tired of living nomadic, unsettled lives.

“With the ceasefire between the two nations in 2003 things had improved, we had even destroyed the mud houses which were primarily built due to frequent firing. We have constructed concrete houses now. But after today’s (Tuesday’s) incident no one knows what will happen. The future is uncertain,” he said.

Another resident, Abudul Hamid Malik ,43, says he is afraid of sending his children to school as it is exposed to shelling. “After the tension erupted again on LoC, I stopped my children from going to school because I don’t know when a shell could land up there and kill them. If the shell lands here in my home at least I will die with my family,” he said. Read more here.

9.30 am: Concerned about violence along LoC, says US

The United States on Tuesday said it was concerned about violence along the LoC and added that its policy on Kashmir has not changed.

“We are aware of these unconfirmed reports and are concerned about any violence along the Line of Control. We still believe that the pace, scope, and character of India and Pakistan’s dialogue on Kashmir is for those two countries to determine,” US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said.

“The policy on Kashmir has not changed. We hope that India and Pakistan will continue the steps they’ve recently taken to improve their bilateral relations,” Psaki added.

9.15 am: Indo-Pak talks are useless, says BJP

The BJP on Wednesday slammed the government and said there needs to be action, not talks with its neighbour.

“There is no use of talks.. the government needs to send a strong message to Pakistan..” BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu said.

On Tuesday, speaking in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley said the government has to immediately change its foreign policy and tweak it according to Pakistan’s attitude towards India.

“Our PM is scheduled to meet Nawaz Sharif in September this year.. the meeting should be cancelled,” BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said on Tuesday.

9.05 am: Indo-Pak talks to continue, says Congress

Talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif will be held in September, the Congress party said today.

Congress spokesman PC Chacko said all issues between the two countries could only be solved across the talks table.

Both the PMs are scheduled to meet at the United Nations General Assembly in September this year.

8.35 am: BJP leaders to meet PM, urge cancellation of talks

Senior BJP leaders will call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later today and urge him to cancel talks with Pakistan, CNN-IBN reported.

The BJP will also seek clarification on the government’s stand on relations with  Pakistan.

8.15 am: Over 250 terrorists waiting to enter India?

In July this year, the Indian Army had said that there were 250-300 terrorists in groups of ten waiting to infiltrate Indian territory.

“250 to 300 terrorists in groups of ten or 20 are waiting to sneak inside Indian territory with inputs being that their concentration is maximum opposite Poonch,” General Officer Commanding (GoC) 19 Corps, Lt Gen D S Hooda had told reporters.

“There are inputs that they (militants) want to come inside our territory for causing casualty to our troops at the border posts,” he had said. Read more about it here.

7.50 am: Chavan condoles death of soldier from Kolhapur

Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan condoled the death of Indian Army soldier Pundalik Mane from Kolhapur, who lost his life during an ambush at Poonch sector on Tuesday, and said the country would not forget his sacrifice.

“Everyone is proud of the sacrifice made by this brave jawan,” the chief minister said.

Mane hailed from Pimpalgaon village in Kagal taluka of Kolhapur district. - PTI

7.31 am: Bihar to give slain soldiers state funeral

The bodies of the five Indian soldiers who were martyred on Tuesday is expected to reach Delhi today. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has announced a state funeral for the four soldiers from his state.

The family of the slain soldiers would get Rs 10 lakh compensation from the state government, sources in Kumar’s office told PTI.

7.20 am: Army Chief to visit ambush site

Army Chief General Bikram Singh has left for Nagrota, Jammu for a briefing by the Army. He is also expected to visit the site of the ambush.

Gen Bikram Singh is expected to meet the commanding officer and troops of the battalions whose troops were killed in the ambush, Army officials said.

7.10 am: PM-Sharif talks under cloud?

According to the Times of India, Tuesday’s ceasefire violation could hamper proposed talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

Singh and Sharif were to hold talks on the sidelines of UN General Assembly in New York next month.

Updates for 6 August end

8:15 pm: Salman Khurshid says they will do the ‘right thing’

Minister for External Affairs has done what he does best and spun an elaborate web of words when asked about his opinion on the attack on soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir.

“I feel the concern and the pain and I feel the responsibility because we are in the government and we have a responsibility,” the minister told ANI.

“But we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water. We don’t want to create a situation that will become detrimental and destructive of India’s security and peace,” Khurshid said.

“We will factor in every dimension and do what is absolutely necessary in the national interest,” he said.

7: 15 pm: BJP activists protest outside Defence Minister’s residence 

BJP activists are protesting outside AK Antony’s residence in Delhi to protest against the attack along the Line of Control and attempted to breach the barricade.

6:30 pm: PM speaks to Defence Minister about attack

The Prime Minister has reportedly spoken to Defence Minister AK Antony over the incident along the LoC which left five Indian jawans dead.

What he said though is still unknown.

5:40 pm: Defence Minister says he has limited details about today’s attack 

After being accused by the opposition of giving Pakistan an escape route by calling those who attacked the Indian soldiers ‘terrorists’, Defence Minister AK Antony said he had made the statement based on what little information he had.

My response was a proper response from a responsible government, he said, 

“At this stage we don’t want to jump to conclusions,” Antony said.

India is a responsible country and that is why such a statement had been made, he said.

“Due to this I can only say that 20 armed terrorists dressed as Pakistan Army soldiers attacked our soldiers,” he said.

He said the government was ensuring that the armed forces were prepared to take on any threat.

“We are strengthening our capabilities and our armed forces are on vigil 24 hours a day,” the minister said.

He said that Army Chief had assured him that they are confident of facing such incidents of intrusion in the future.

5:30 pm: Army chief to visit J&K after killing of five soldiers

PTI reports that Army Chief General Bikram Singh is to visit Poonch, where five
soldiers were killed in an ambush along the Line of Control.

Given his reaction to the last incident where two soldiers were killed, it wouldn’t be unexpected for the Army Chief to be a lot more blunt when it comes to his choice of words.

4:30 pm: Pakistan issues statement denying involvement in attack

Here’s the full statement issued by the Pakistan Foreign Ministry:

Pakistan rejects the allegations carried by some sections of the Indian media of an attack across the LoC in the Poonch sector in which five Indian soldiers were claimed to have been killed. These are baseless and unfounded allegations. Our military authorities have confirmed that there had been no exchange of fire that could have resulted in such an incident.

Pakistan remains committed to the ceasefire agreement of 2003 which is an important Confidence Building Measure and should be respected in letter and spirit. Pakistan also urges the need for abiding by and strengthening existing military mechanisms to ensure that such ill-founded reports that have the potential of vitiating the atmosphere, are avoided.

Pakistan is committed to a constructive, sustained and result-oriented process of engagement with India and looks forward to an early resumption of the dialogue process. It is important that both sides make serious efforts in maintaining the positive atmosphere and avoid negative propaganda.

4.00 pm: Pakistan in a constant state of denial, says Jaitley

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said the killing of five soldiers in Poonch district was a condemnable incident saying Pakistan was in constant state of denial and the line of distinction between state and non-state actors in Pakistan is quite blurred.

Jaitley also said that the time has come to give Pakistan a befitting reply and said he expects the government to elaborate on what its foreign policy is.

Jaitley also hit out at Defence Minister AK Antony saying his statement on ‘men dressed in Pak military uniforms’ was an escape route for Pakistan.

“Is the Pakistan government in full control of what happens in Pakistan? Who is in control of Pakistan is an unanswered question. Therefore India should never lower its guard in border issues.”

“We must be conscious of the fact that the principle issue is the sovereignty of India, the interest of India… We cannot make a spectacle of ourselves in front of the world,” he said.

3.55 pm: Names of those martyred by Pak attack

Prem Nath Singh, Shambhu Saran Ray, Vyay Kumar Ray, Raghunandan Prasad and Pundalik Mane.

3.50 pm: India cannot be cowed down by such attacks, says Sonia Gandhi

Congress President and UPA Chief Sonia Gandhi said India will not be cowed down by such blatant acts of deceit and urged the government to take up appropriate measures.

Gandhi also expressed deep grief at the loss of lives and said the country stands by their families.

3.10 pm: Army is prepared for necessary action, says Antony

Defence Minister AK Antony condemned the unprovoked attack by Pakistan and assured the House that the Indian Army was ready to take all necessary steps.

Speaking in Lok Sabha, the Minister briefed the members on the attack and said at least 20 men dressed in Pakistan military uniforms crossed the LoC and attacked the Indian post, leaving five soldiers martyred and one injured.

Antony said 17 infiltration bids were foiled this year and 19 hardcore terrorists have been killed in the last two months along the LoC and in Kashmir.

He also said that the number of ceasefire violations have doubled compared to last year in the same corresponding period.

2.35 pm: Pak Dy High Commissioner summoned by govt

Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner was summoned by the Indian government and a strong protest has been lodged over the incident at the LoC.

Speaking in Lok Sabha, Defence Minister AK Antony said a strong message has been sent to Pakistan through appropriate diplomatic channels.

2.00 pm:
Oppositions remarks are extremely unfortunate: Manish Tewari

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari also slammed the Opposition saying it was unfortunate that they reacted without full details of the incident.

“Some things are above politics… without complete details the Opposition has gone to say things.. I think it is extremely unfortunate.”

1.50 pm: 7th major violation in Poonch district

Army sources have told Times Now that Tuesday’s attack is the 7th major cease fire violation in the Poonch sector along the Line of Control.

According to CNN-IBN, there have been 12 ceasefires since 1 December, 2012; 71 in 2012; 51 in 2011; 44 in 2010.

1.40 pm: Cong hits back at Oppn, says decency should not be misinterpreted as weakness

As expected, the Jammu Kashmir attack has taken a political turn. From the exchange of fire along the LoC, the fight is now in Parliament.

Congress spokesperson Renuka Choudhary slammed the Opposition saying decency should not be misconstrued for weakness and the government knows how to answer such attacks.

“Sharafat ko kamzori nahi maan-ni chahiye. Humko javab dena aata ha,” she said.

She also slammed Yashwant Sinha for his earlier comment on the Congress party’s asking: “Do we want the world to think that there are two views on national security in India? The Opposition is wrong.”

1.06 pm: One soldier also injured in Pakistan attack

A senior Army officer has told PTI the attack in Jammu & Kashmir was carried out by the troops of 2 PoK Brigade, which is deployed in that sector. The officer said all the jawans have died of gunshot wounds and there was no beheading or mutilation of bodies.

“One Indian jawan was also injured in the latest Pakistani attack, triggering tension along the borderline,” he added. The injured soldier has been admitted to a hospital.

“A party of six jawans was on routine patrol between fencing and the post, when Pakistan troops attacked them by opening firing near the Sarla battalion post area along LoC in Poonch district during pre-dawn time,” he said, adding that the Pakistan Army had violated the ceasefire agreement.

The deceased jawans belonged to the 21 Bihar Regiment post at Sarla forward area along the LoC in Chakan-Da-Bagh sector of Poonch.

Giving details, the officer said the patrol had lost contact with the Army unit at around 0115 hours, close to the time of the attack. “We sent a patrol to the area around 0530 hours today and
found five jawans dead with gunshot wounds. One was injured and he is in utter shock,” he said.

The bodies have been brought back to unit area, he said.

12.35 pm: Congress party should say whether it is with India or Pakistan, says Yashwant Sinha

Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha slammed the government saying it  was high time the country responded back to Pakistan in the same manner, calling for a debate in Parliament on the same issue.

“Is the Congress with India or with Pakistan? They should come clear on it,” he said.

“Since January there have been continuous attacks.. our Army, this Parliament, this country has the strength… we should respond back in the same way,” he said.

Sinha also demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh make a statement in the House.

12.20 pm: Betrayal by Pakistan is sad, says Mulayam Yadav

SP Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav condemned the attack by Pakistan and questioned said it’s high time India stopped trusting its neighbour.

“Betrayal by Pakistan is sad.. they do not respect our borders.. yet we still want friendship with them… I am also saying that China will attack India.”

12.17 pm: Heard attack along LoC: Ex sarpanch
Mohammad Fazl, ex sarpanch of Chakan da Bagh, said he heard firing at night and was awake till 3 am. Speaking to ANI, Fazl said, “children were huddled at night on hearing firing on LoC… it is common here.. we heard firing for a long time.”


12.05 pm: Group of 15 soldiers attacked Indian post

Army sources have told CNN-IBN that a group of at least 15 Pakistani soldiers crossed the LoC and attacked six Indian soldiers. The incident occurred between midnight and 1.30 am.

11.59 am: Rahul asks govt to take up issue at highest level

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi expressed shock at the cowardly attack and said the government needs to take it up at the highest level.

Congress media chief Ajay Maken quoted Gandhi as saying,”Rahul Gandhi has expressed shock and pain at the cowardly killing of 5 of our Jawans by Pakistan…Gandhi also urged the Government to take this provocative act by Pak at the highest level.”

11.47 am: Pak denies attack, says no firing from its side

Pakistan on Tuesday denied it violated ceasefire agreements saying there was no firing from its side. “There was no indiscriminate firing from our side,” one security official told Reuters.

Another official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to reporters, denied there had been an exchange of fire on the border between the nuclear powers. “There was no such incident whatsoever,” he said. “There was no firing on the border.” - Reuters

Pakistan Army official DG, ISPR Bgr Waseem Abbasi told Times Now there was no involvement from Pakistan’s side. “There was no ceasefire violation from our side.. I cannot comment on what your media has to say..,” he said.

11.31 am: Modi slams govt, says such attacks are unacceptable

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi slammed the government saying such attacks were unacceptable.

“From China’s intrusions to Pakistan’s ambushes- UPA Government has been absolutely lax in securing Indian borders. When will Centre wake up?,” Modi tweeted.

“My heartfelt condolences to the families of the brave soldiers,” he added.

11.25 am: What is the govt’s policy on Pakistan?

The BJP hit out at the government demanding that the Foreign Minister make a statement in Parliament on what the govt’s policy on Pakistan and China is.

“We don’t want facts.. they are already out in the media.. we want to know what the policy on Pakistan is..” Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said.

11.17 am: Rajya Sabha adjourned till noon over soldiers deaths

The Rajya Sabha has been adjourned over the issue of the soldiers death. However it is likely that either defence Minister AK Antony or Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will make a statement later.

Meanwhile the army is scheduled to issue a detailed response in about 30 minutes, CNN-IBN reported.

11.10 am: Rajya Sabha in uproar over killing of soldiers in J&K

Leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, has called for the Prime Minister to make a statement on the death of the five jawans in Jammu and kashmir. Speaking in the upper house of Parliament amid angry protests and uproar, the opposition is asking that whoever speaks on behalf of the government answer all questions related to the incident.

Earlier MoS Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla termed the incident as ‘most unfortunate’ and said he understood the sentiment of the house.

10.30 am: Omar Abdullah condemns killing of soldiers

Jammu Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah condemned the attack and said such incidents would not help normalise ties between the two countries.

“These incidents don’t help efforts to normalise or even improve relations with Pak & call in to question Pak Govt’s recent overtures,” Abdullah tweeted.

He also expressed condolences to the families of those who lost their lives. “Was briefed early this morning about news that 5 of our soldiers had been killed on the LOC. Heartfelt condolences to their next of kin,” he said.

Meanwhile, the BJP hit out at the government asking if they had any policy on dealing with Pakistan. “What is the govt’s policy on Pakistan? And what are they doing… both China and Pakistan have been violating the border…,” party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

10.00 am: Pak violates ceasefire again

Five Indian soldiers have been killed along the Line of Control in Kashmir, in another violation of the ceasefire by Pakistan troops.

The attack on the Saral post in Chakkan da Bagh, Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir, was carried out by a group of Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists with the help of Pakistani soldiers, sources told CNN-IBN.

Bihar Regiment’s 21st Battalion is deployed in the sector.

According to NDTV, the attack took place when the Indian Army soldiers were on patrol duty along the LoC in what the army describes as “an area domination exercise”.


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