NEW DELHI – India’s government on Thursday said specialist troops from the Pakistani Army were involved in a deadly attack on Indian troops in Kashmir, in its first direct accusation of Islamabad’s complicity.
Defense Minister A.K. Antony also hinted at stronger military action along the Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed Himalayan region, where an ambush overnight Monday killed five Indian soldiers.
“It is now clear that the specialist troops of Pakistan’s army were involved in this attack,” Antony told parliament. “Nothing happens from Pakistan’s side of the LoC without the support, assistance, facilitation and often direct involvement of the Pakistan Army.”
Antony’s strongly worded statement came after the opposition angrily accused him of deliberately choosing not to blame Pakistani forces for the attack, amid attempts to revive peace talks with Islamabad.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan by the U.N.-monitored line, the de facto border, but is claimed in full by both countries.
Analysts have said the attack had complicated efforts to arrange a meeting between veteran Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his new Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif.
“Naturally, this incident will have consequences on our behavior on the LoC and for our relationship with Pakistan,” Antony said. “Our restraint should not be taken for granted, nor the capacity of our armed forces and resolve of the government to afford the sanctity of the LoC ever be doubted.”
The opposition had accused the government Wednesday of letting Pakistan off the hook over the incident, amid mounting pressure to postpone peace talks between the two rivals.