NEW DELHI India’s army chief Monday accused Pakistan of planning an attack in which two Indian soldiers were killed in the disputed Kashmir region last week, and warned of possible retaliation.
Gen. Bikram Singh’s strong words are a clear message that India believes the Jan. 8 attack was a deliberate provocation and not an unintentional skirmish of the kind that often breaks out along the Line of Control, which forms the de facto border between the two arch-rivals in the Himalayan territory.
Pakistan did not immediately respond to the comments, which are likely to raise tensions further.
The tit-for-tat fighting began Jan. 6 when Pakistan accused Indian troops of raiding an army post and killing a soldier. India denied raiding the post, and said its troops fired across the border in response to Pakistani shelling that destroyed a home on the Indian side.
On Jan. 8, India claimed Pakistani soldiers, taking advantage of heavy fog, crossed the border and killed two Indian soldiers and beheaded one of them.
Pakistan denies India’s allegations and has suggested U.N. monitors in the region conduct an inquiry — a call that India rejected, saying it didn’t want to internationalize the issue.