New Delhi, Aug. 19: Defence minister A.K. Antony today warned Pakistan not to take India’s restraint for granted.
“Naturally, this incident will have consequences on our behaviour on the Line of Control and for our relations with Pakistan. Our restraint should not be taken for granted,” Antony told the Rajya Sabha in a statement on the August 6 firing that killed five Indian soldiers on the LoC.
“Nor should the capacity of our armed forces and resolve of the government to uphold the sanctity of the LoC ever be doubted,” he added.
Antony, who had earlier said “specialist troops” of the Pakistan Army were involved in the attack, said those in Pakistan who are responsible for the August 6 incident and the “brutal killing” of two soldiers earlier this year “should not go unpunished”.
He asked Islamabad to show “determined action” to dismantle terror networks and organisations.
On the eve of Independence Day, the Lok Sabha had passed a resolution against the LoC attack. Antony carried the mood forward.
Replying to Opposition queries on his statement, Antony said the army was retaliating to every violation of a ceasefire the neighbours had agreed to in 2003. “Strong action is being taken on the LoC because (the) government is also supporting the army,” he said.
Pushed for clarifications on the likely engagement by the political heads of state in the light of the developments along the LoC, Antony skirted a direct answer but indicated that Delhi would remain firm. “We understand the mood of Parliament,” he said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif are likely to meet in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly next month.
Earlier, Rajya Sabha Opposition leader Arun Jaitley had said that while the Sharif government was sending signals of peace and dialogue, the Pakistan Army was attacking Indian forces on the border.
Antony said there had been 24 ceasefire violations on the LoC since August 6. “We all know that nothing happens from the Pakistan side of (the) Line of Control without support, assistance, facilitation and often, direct involvement of the Pakistan Army,” he said in his statement.