Sushma Swaraj writes to Aziz; dismisses Pak allegations

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New Delhi, Jan 3: Reacting sharply, India today dismissed Pakistan's allegation of "breach of trust" over the killing of Pakistan Rangers and asked it to adhere to the mechanisms that have been evolved to ensure peace and tranquility on the International Border (IB) and Line of Control (LOC).

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj wrote to Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan Prime Minister's Advisor on Foreign Affairs and National Security, a day after he lodged a strong protest and sought an immediate probe into the killing of Rangers by BSF on December 31.

Swaraj writes to Aziz; dismisses Pak allegations

Aziz alleged that India killed two Pakistani Rangers after calling them for a meeting on the IB. Dismissing contentions made by Aziz, Swaraj emphasised that Pakistan commanders responded to Indian defensive fire by escalating matters by using higher calibre weapons, expanding the zone of conflict to other sub sectors and targeting civilian habitations.

"The incidents on 31st December in the Jammu sector commenced when a routine BSF patrol flying an identifying flag came under sniper fire from a Pakistan Border Post, which resulted in the death of one Indian security personnel and serious injuries to another," the External Affairs Minister wrote.

She emphasised that Pakistan commanders responded to Indian defensive fire by escalating matters by using higher calibre weapons, expanding the zone of conflict to other sub sectors and targeting civilian habitations.

"At no stage did the Indian side seek any platoon level contact under a white flag as was being suggested. The consistent Indian message conveyed to Pakistan was that if they were to stop firing on Indian Border Posts, India would immediately end defensive firing.

"Unfortunately, Pakistan commanders had chosen to ignore this advice until the evening. While emphasising that India always adhered to the mechanisms that have been evolved to ensure peace and tranquility on the International Border (IB) and Line of Control (LOC) and would continue to do so," the letter said.

Swaraj asked Aziz "to ensure that Pakistan's forces do the same". Aziz, who was instructed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take up the matter with India, had written a letter which underlined "that the regrettable ambush of the soldiers would undermine mechanisms established by the two countries to ensure peace and tranquility along the LoC and the WB," the Pakistan Foreign Office said in a statement yesterday.

The letter was handed over to Indian High Commissioner T C A Raghavan by Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry. On Tuesday, a BSF jawan was killed when Pakistani Rangers fired on a group of Indian soldiers on patrol. India had returned fire and four Pakistani soldiers were killed in retaliation. India stopped firing when Pakistan Rangers raised a white flag, requesting time to remove the bodies. 

PTI

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