‘Pakistan Must Apologise If Reasons For Truce Violation Invalid’

26 May 2008

New Delhi: The defence ministry Tuesday said unprovoked firing from Pakistan across the Line of Control (LoC) has come as a surprise after five years of ceasefire and that it will have to apologise if the reasons are not found to be “valid”. “The firing from across the LoC after five years of ceasefire has come as a surprise and it is unpardonable,” Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju told reporters here. India has registered its protest against the ceasefire violation at various forums, including a flag meeting between the troops’ commanders on both sides. “They better have a valid reason for the firing or they (Pakistan) will have to apologise through appropriate channel,” Raju said. Raju also anticipated an increase in infiltration across the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir with the snow melting and elections in the state around the corner. “We are taking adequate security measures so that the infiltration does not impinge upon the elections in the state,” he said. Indian and Pakistani army officers had held a flag meeting May 21 at a forward post along the LoC in Mendhar sector to sort out the issues arising out of the “unprovoked” firing from the Pakistani side May 19. One Indian soldier was killed in the firing. The Indian side made it plain that it was not possible for the firing to have taken place without the involvement or knowledge of the Pakistan Army. Officials said that even if the firing was by militants, the loud sounds of rocket launchers and grenade explosions would not have been missed by the Pakistan Army. In that case, had the Pakistan Army apprehended anyone, the Indians had asked, according to officials here. Pakistan had assured India that it would look into the matter.