Ball is now in Pakistan's court: Indian security analysts

Wed, Jan 16 2013 18:24 IST | 1 Views | Add your comment
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New Delhi, Jan 16

Pakistan has to take concrete steps to reduce tensions in the wake of the outrage over the killing of two Indian soldiers near the Line of Control, one of whom was beheaded, security analysts say.

They also asserted that India's "no business as usual" move towards its neighbour was a reflection of public sentiment.

Former Intelligence Bureau chief Ajit Doval said it was for Pakistan to address India's concerns over the killing of its soldiers, through proper follow-up action that India could verify.

"The ball is in Pakistan's court. If it takes suitable measures, the situation can be de-escalated. That would be in the interest of both countries," Doval told IANS.

"It will necessitate some concrete and verifiable actions by Pakistan rather than mere assurances," he said.

Doval said Pakistan needed to stop violating the Line of Control. It must also act to trace the culprits responsible for killing and mutilating Indian soldiers, he said.

"Somebody is responsible, and Pakistan needs to take action," he said.

Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh and Lance Naik Hemraj were killed and their bodies mutilated in the Mendhar sector in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir Jan 8. Hemraj's head was missing from the body, and there is concern that it might have been taken away as a trophy by the raiders.

Pakistan has denied any involvement in the killings, and accused Indian forces of killing two of its soldiers - one on Jan 6 and another four days later.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Tuesday there can be "no business as usual" with Pakistan. He called on the neighbouring country to ensure that those responsible for the barbaric and heinous act be brought to book.

Indian Army chief General Bikram Singh had Monday termed the Jan 8 incident a "gruesome and an unpardonable act". He said his forces could not be expected to remain passive, and would reserve the right to retaliate at a time and place of their choosing.

Doval said that besides bringing those responsible for the gruesome act to book, Pakistan must also offer India an assurance that such "inhuman activities" would not happen again.

The prime minister's remarks reflected the mood of the people over the incident and the subsequent denial by Pakistan, Doval said.

Former foreign secretary Shashank said the prime minister's remarks were cautious, and the government was still waiting for a response from Pakistan to the concerns raised.

He said that it was now up to Pakistan to decide if it wanted to move ahead in bilateral relationship.

"Pakistan has to take the initiative now, and India has to respond," he said, adding: "We have to prepare ourselves for any eventuality."

With tension persisting on the LoC over ceasefire violations, the government Tuesday put on hold the Visa-on-Arrival (VoA) regime for senior citizens of Pakistan. Its players in the Hockey India League (HIL) have also been asked to go back.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid had made it clear Tuesday that the government would not ignore the brazen denial and the lack of a proper response from Pakistan to India's demarches over the Jan 8 incident. He said bilateral relations could not remain unaffected.

Ajai Sahni, executive director, Institute of Conflict Management, said India cannot keep reacting to incidents and there had to be a strategic response to Pakistan's "continuous malfeasance."

Sahni said the prime minister's "no business as usual" response was "posturing", and that he had talked thus against the neighbouring country even after the 26\\\\11 Mumbai attacks.

He said Pakistan's policy was oriented towards brinkmanship.

"The Indian state has no capacity to respond effectively against Pakistan (brinkmanship)... India's policy pendulum moves between talks and no talks," he said.

"You have to inflict costs on Pakistan. Cut them off. Inflict economic and diplomatic costs... cut off people-to-people relations. Let them stew for a while. They must want something from us," he said.

Former high commissioner to Pakistan G. Parthasarthy said the government had created an "illusion of the relationship moving forward".

Referring to the visit of Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik to India last month, he said no tangible gains were made.

"What did it achieve," he asked, referring to comments that the Pakistan minister made about to the 26\\\\11 attacks in Mumbai and the demolition of the Babri mosque.

Parthasarthy added that there had been no let-up in cross-border infiltration attempts from the Pakistani side.

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