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'Ball is now in Pakistan's court'

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.


The hole story: A villager in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, points at bullet holes on the wall of a home in Parla Mohrra. Pic/AFP

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 said.

“It will necessitate some concrete and verifiable actions by Pakistan rather than mereassurances,” 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.

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.” Army chief General Bikram Singh had 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.

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