NEW DELHI – Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh warned Pakistan on Thursday against using its soil for “anti-India activity,” following a fresh escalation of tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors over a deadly attack on Indian soldiers.
“India has always strived for friendship with its neighboring countries,” Singh said during his annual address from the ramparts of the Red Fort in New Delhi marking India’s Independence Day.
“However, for relations with Pakistan to improve, it is essential that they prevent the use of their territory and territory under their control for any anti-India activity,” he emphasized.
Singh’s comments came against the backdrop of the killing of five Indian soldiers in disputed Kashmir last week that New Delhi blames on the Pakistan Army and which has stoked tensions between the two rivals.
The renewed tensions have cast a shadow over hopes of a resumption of stalled bilateral peace talks.
Since the killings, regular skirmishes have been taking place between the armies of the two countries along the heavily militarized Line of Control (LoC) that divides the disputed Kashmir region.
The Independence Day address marks the end of British colonial rule in 1947 and partition of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan, a split that has caused endless tension and triggered three wars — two of them over Kashmir. The Muslim-majority region is divided between the two nations, but both claim it in full.
India passed a resolution in Parliament on Wednesday condemning Pakistan’s “unprovoked attack” on its soldiers in Kashmir last week.
Pakistan has denied involvement of its troops in the ambush, the deadliest such incident involving Indian soldiers along the LoC since the two countries agreed to a cease-fire in 2003.
The resolution followed a similar one passed by Pakistan’s Parliament a day earlier.