India's PM under pressure to cancel talks after Kashmir border attack

After five Indian troops killed, minister says 'Those in Pakistan responsible for this tragedy should not go unpunished'

Delhi

India's prime minister is under mounting pressure to cancel a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart after a border attack in Kashmir that left five Indian troops dead.

In the latest twist to an incident that has seen tension between the long-time rivals ratcheted up once again, India’s defence minister today claimed the attack on the so-called Line of Control (LoC) had been carried out by “specialist troops” of the Pakistan army. No such attack could go ahead without the support of the Pakistan military, he added.

“Our restraint should not be taken for granted,” minister AK Antony told the Indian parliament, according to the Press Trust of India. “Those in Pakistan responsible for this tragedy should not go unpunished.”

Amid mounting criticism from opposition politicians and the more jingoistic sections of India’s media since Tuesday’s attack close to the town of Poonch, prime minister Manmohan Singh is under pressure to call off a planned meeting with Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif. The two leaders had been expected to meet on the sidelines of the UN general assembly in New York next month.

“We are saying that until the 26/11 [attack in Mumbai] perpetrators and those involved this week are brought to justice, we should not have talks,” Prakash Javadekar, a member of parliament and a spokesman for the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, told The Independent. “We should not have the highest level talks.”

The incident on Tuesday is one of scores that have taken place along the snaking 460-mile border that separates Indian Kashmir from Pakistan Kashmir despite a ceasefire agreement that was signed in 2003. Every few months, soldiers from both sides are killed in cross-border firings or else attacks.

Relatives mourn the death of Indian Army soldier Vijay Kumar Rai, who was among five soldiers killed in during a cross-border attack in Kashmir, at their residence in Patna (Photo: STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images) Relatives mourn the death of Indian Army soldier Vijay Kumar Rai, who was among five soldiers killed in during a cross-border attack in Kashmir, at their residence in Patna (Photo: STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)

A UN monitoring mission has been in place along the border since 1948 but while Pakistan supports its role, India does not. The work of the UN staff on the Indian side of the border are tightly restricted.

In February, three Pakistani and two Indian soldiers were killed in separate incidents on the border. Meanwhile, a report on the FirstPost.com website suggested that Tuesday’s attack was preceded last week by an incident in which Indian troops killed four Pakistanis. Pakistani media said the men were civilians. Pakistan has denied responsibility for Tuesday’s attack.Relations between India and Pakistan, nuclear-armed neighbours who have gone to war on three occasions, had been steadily improving since the 2008 assault on Mumbai by Pakistani militants that left 160 people dead.

Many were hopeful that relations would improve further still following the election of Mr Sharif in May. During his campaign, Mr Sharif, who has twice served as Pakistan’s premier, spoke of his wish to increase trade and to boost the political and cultural relationship with Delhi.

Tariq Azeem, a spokesman for Mr Sharif said he hoped the Pakistani premier and Mr Singh would still go ahead and meet in New York. “What other way is there to solve the differences between the two countries,” he said. “You can either go to war, which is something that nobody wants, [or] the second way is to have talks.”

A protest against the death of five Indian Army soldiers in cross-border exchanges in Hyderabad Activists of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) shout anti-Pakistan slogans as they burn an effigy of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency during a protest against the death of five Indian Army soldiers in cross-border exchanges in Hyderabad (Photo: Getty)

He added: “India doesn’t want a third party involved, they don’t want to talk to us. So what do they want exactly.”

The pressure on Mr Singh and his Congress party-led government is partly the result of the seemingly fumbling way in which his defence minister handled the crisis. Initially Mr Antony he said the attack had been carried out by men dressed in the uniform of the the Pakistan army – a statement that was at odds with that issued by the Indian military. In his “clarification” on Thursday, he made clear the government believed the Pakistan military was involved.

The Congress party has insisted that the meeting in New York will go ahead. But a spokesman for Mr Singh said in an email that “nothing is confirmed yet”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
This weekend's 'Big Hero 6' by Disney Animation Studios
arts + ents
News
i100
News
Budapest, 1989. Sleepware and panties.
newsDavid Hlynsky's images of Soviet Union shop windows shine a light on our consumerist culture
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
News
In humans, the ability to regulate the expression of genes through thoughts alone could open up an entirely new avenue for medicine.
science
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Transport Administrator / Planner

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Associate - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL FIRM - A...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Law Costs - London City

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - EXCELLENT FIRM - We have an outstandin...

Austen Lloyd: In-House Solicitor / Company Secretary - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: IN-HOUSE - NATIONAL CHARITY - An exciting and...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee