Army commanders from India and Pakistan held talks Monday for the first time since border tensions flared early last week after two Indian soldiers were killed in a Pakistani army raid in Kashmir.
India raised concerns over the violation of a ceasefire that has been in effect along the de facto border since November 2003, and registered a strong protest over the killing of two Indian soldiers in a cross-border raid Jan. 8, NDTV reported citing unnamed sources.
Prior to the flag meeting in Chakan da Bagh in Poonch along the Line of Control (LoC), Indian Army Chief Bikram Singh said at a press conference Monday that Indian troops would not hesitate to retaliate if provoked.
Terming the beheading of one of the Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops as "gruesome" and “unpardonable” Singh said: "We reserve the right to retaliate at a time and place of our choosing."
Singh said that the possibility of Pakistan using terrorists to infiltrate can't be ruled out.
"Pakistan has an additional tool which is terrorists and they are not hesitant to use it," he said, adding that the Jan. 8 attack “has been stage-managed and Pakistan has planted lies to justify their actions.”
Pakistani military officials have denied the allegations of a cross-border raid saying that "it appears to be Indian propaganda to divert the attention of the world away from the Sunday raid on a Pakistani post by Indian troops in which a Pakistani soldier was killed," BBC has reported.
The Pakistani army alleged Jan. 6 that Indian troops breached the LoC and raided the Sawan Patra checkpost in the disputed territory, killing a Pakistan soldier. But the Indian military denied the allegation.
Indian army spokesman Col. Jagadish Dahiya said last week that the Indian troops had not crossed the LoC. "However, there was a ceasefire violation by Pakistan. Our troops retaliated by firing," Dahiya had said.
Though there has been a long history of border skirmishes in Kashmir, they have been far less frequent in recent years. A ceasefire has been in effect along the de facto border since November 2003.
Disrupting a period of rapprochement, bilateral talks were temporarily suspended following the terror attack Nov. 26, 2008, by Pakistani militants in Mumbai. In November last year, India executed Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman from the 10-member squad that carried out the attack.