An “outraged” India on Wednesday summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit and provided “enough evidence” on Pakistan army’s involvement in the beheading of two Indian soldiers.
It also demanded action against the perpetrators of the “barbaric act” on May 1 in Krishna Ghati sector along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
Basit was summoned by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar to convey India’s “outrage at the killing and the barbaric act of mutilation of the bodies of two Indian soldiers on May one, 2017 by Pakistani army personnel”, external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said.
India also told Pakistan the killing of the soldiers was “a strong act of provocation” and in contravention of all norms of civilised conduct, he said.
Baglay said it was significant that the attack was preceded by covering fire from Pakistani posts in Battal sector (in vicinity of village Battal).
Blood samples collected from the site matched with the blood of the two Indian security personnel, he said, adding the “blood trail” shows that the perpetrators who entered the Indian side from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, returned from where they came from.
However, he did not clarify whether the “blood samples and the blood trail” were of same person or different individuals.
Asserting that India has “enough evidence” that the act was committed by the Pakistan army regulars who crossed the LoC, Baglay said this has been shared with the Pakistan high commissioner.
Asked about the response of Basit, the spokesperson said, “Of course, the Pakistani envoy denied the involvement of his country’s army. However, he said he will convey the content of the demarche to his government.”
Pakistan had on Tuesday sought from India “actionable evidence” to back its claim on the issue.
Naib Subedar Paramjeet Singh and Border Security Force Head Constable Prem Sagar were slain by Pakistan Border Action Team, which sneaked 250 metres into Indian territory in Poonch disctrict of Jammu-Kashmir.
Indian Director General of Military Operations Lt Gen A K Bhatt had on Tuesday conveyed to his Pakistan counterpart that such a “dastardly and inhuman act” was beyond any norms of civility and merits unequivocal condemnation and response.
On the future course of action, Baglay said he would not like to “speculate” on the steps that will be taken. “Wait and see what will be the steps,” he said.
In a related development, 50 Pakistani students, who on a visit to India at the invitation of an NGO, were sent back after the ministry advised the organisation against hosting them at a time which was not “appropriate” in the aftermath of beheading of Indian soldiers.
Asked about reports of visas being denied to Pakistan squash and wrestling teams, Baglay said the squash team was granted visas much before the event they were to participate in but they did not collect it.
And as far as the Pakistan wrestlers were concerned, Sports Minister Vijay Goel has already spoken on the matter.
Goel has said, “Terrorism and sports can’t go along and Pakistan should understand that.”
The two teams were scheduled to participate in the Asian Championships.
Baglay also said that there is no let up in India’s efforts to isolate Pakistan on cross-border terrorism issue and referred to statements of several international leaders, who have emphasised on the need for a strong fight against the menace.
“It an unfortunate reality in our region that cross-border terrorism continues to pose a grave threat to the peace and stability… and the international community agrees that it must be brought to an end,” he said.
On why India was still continuing with the ‘most favoured nation’ status to Pakistan, the spokesperson said the MFN tag to Pakistan is an obligation for World Trade Organisation members and all members have to extend it to each other.
He also reiterated the ministry’s position on holding talks under Indus Waters Treaty with Pakistan nearly two months ago.
On Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s suggestion of a multilateral dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue and a Chinese media report that Beijing was ready to mediate, Bagley said there is “no ambiguity in our position (that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan) and this is very clearly known to our interlocutors”.
Noting that the query was based on a Chinese state-run daily, Baglay said his advice to the media in China would be to refer to the position of the Chinese government which admits that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.
IMAGE: Naib Subedar Paramjit Singh’s mother mourns her son’s tricolour wrapped body on its arrival at their village Vain Poin, some 40 km from Amritsar on Tuesday. Photograph: PTI Photo