India on Thursday reacted strongly to reports of Pakistan setting up a special group to “expose” New Delhi’s alleged atrocities in Kashmir, saying it should focus its energies on “stemming the rot of terrorism instead of expending its breath” in making baseless charges.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup also took a dig at Pakistan Prime Minister’s foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz for his remarks that Islamabad would reach out to Indians who are opposed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “extremist policies”, saying probably he has not anticipated the kind of reception he may recieve from them.
“Pakistan would be well advised to focus its energies on stemming the rot of terrorism instead of expending its breath in making baseless allegations. He (Aziz) would be well advised to rather woo Pakistanis to end his government s policy of state sponsorship of terrorism,” Swarup said.
He was reacting to reports quoting Aziz as saying that Pakistan has set up a high-level committee to formulate “a doable and sustainable” policy to highlight the Kashmir issue globally and is reaching out to Indians who are opposed to Modi’s “extremist policies”.
Swarup also gave details of the demarche issued to Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner on Wednesday over the killing of its three soldiers.
He said India strongly deplored the tacit support of the Pakistani army to armed terrorists that came from close to that country’s army posts on 22 November, 2016, and targeted an Indian patrol near the Line of Control in Machhal Sector opposite Pakistan s Kel Sector. Three Indian soldiers were killed in the ambush and the body of one of them was inhumanly mutilitated, the MEA spokesperson said.
The government also conveyed its grave concern at the continued attempts to infiltrate armed terrorists from across the LoC to target Indian posts and patrols.
“During the last week alone, there have been 15 instances when terrorists indulged in nefarious actions from the vicinity of Pakistani army posts across the Line of Control,” he said, adding Pakistan forces have committed 27 ceasefire violations between 16 and 21 November, 2016 which constitute a clear violation of the ceasefire agreement of 2003.
Swarup also rejected Islamabad’s allegation that India was not giving overflight clearance to Pakistan which is in violation of a 1991 agreement.
“Yes, we are aware of what Pakistan has claimed but we categorically reject these allegations.
Asserting that as per the 1991 agreement, essential information concerning the nature of cargo and passengers is required to be furnished in respect of military aircraft, Swarup said requests for overflight clearance from the Government of Pakistan were received in a couple of cases without that.
“Despite several reminders, including in a meeting between Pakistan s Deputy High Commissioner and Joint Secretary (in-charge of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran) in New Delhi on 9 November 2016, Pakistan did not provide the information. Our expectation is that Pakistan will respect the requirements mutually agreed in bilateral agreements,” he said.
He also noted that in another recent case, when Pakistan had provided all necessary information for Gulfstream aircraft of Pakistan Air Force proposing to carry a VIP delegation from Lahore to Colombo and back the overflight permission was provided expeditiously.
On ceasefire violations by Pakistan, Swarup said when the Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner was summoned on Wednesday, he was told that despite calls for restraint, Pakistani forces committed 27 ceasefire violations between 16 and 21 November, 2016, by employing artillery and 120 millimetre heavy mortars against Indian posts. These violent acts constitute a clear violation of the ceasefire agreement of 2003, he said.
“The government also protested the deliberate targeting by the Pakistan army of 18 villages along the Line of Control during the period 16 to 21 November, 2016 which has resulted in a non-fatal casualty besides causing extensive damage to public and private property and the displacement of civilian population,” he added.
The government reaffirmed its concerns about the safety and well-being of Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chavan who had inadvertently crossed over to the Pakistani side more than seven weeks back, Swarup said.