No Business As Usual With Pakistan: India

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Tuesday there could be no business as usual with Pakistan after a clash last week along the line dividing the arch-rivals in Kashmir in which two Indian soldiers were killed and their bodies mutilated.

“After this barbaric act there cannot be business as usual,” a senior official in Singh’s office quoted him as saying at a military event.

In his first public remarks on the January 8 incident on the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir in which two soldiers were killed and bodies mutilated, Singh said, “After this barbaric act there cannot be business as usual (with Pakistan).” 

Speaking off the camera to journalists in the national capital on the occasion of Army Day reception hosted by Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh, the PM when asked about options vis-a-vis Pakistan, said, “it cannot be discussed in the open.” 

However, talking in a tough language, he added, “Those responsible for this crime (of mutilating soldiers’ bodies) will have to be brought to book.” Asked about Pakistan being in denial mode, Manmohan Singh said, “I hope Pakistan realises this”. 

The brutal killing and beheading of two Indian soldiers by the Pakistani Army has left the nation shocked and outraged. In fact the Pakistanis after beheading the two soldiers carried the head of Lance Naik Hemraj along with them. The family of the Lance Naik has been since then asking the government to put pressure on Pakistani authorities to return the head of the martyr. 

The Prime Minister had yesterday talked to senior BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley and assured them of keeping the Opposition in loop about decisions relating to Pakistan. The saffron party had criticised the PM for his silence on the contentious issue and not sending a strong message to Pakistan. 

Visa-on-arrival put on hold

India Tuesday put on hold the operationalisation of visa on arrival for senior citizens of Pakistan amid mounting tension on the Line of Control(LoC). 

Government sources said the decision was taken after several agencies sought clarifications on facilities to be offered to the Pakistani citizens though the continued tension along the LoC following killing of two soldiers by Pakistani troops could be the apparent reason. 

The visa on arrival facility for Pakistani nationals above 65 years was supposed to start today at the Attari Integrated Check Post (ICP) under the new visa agreement between India and Pakistan signed in September 2012 to ease cross-border travel as part of Confidence Building Measures(CBM).

Some clauses of the relaxed visa regime like multiple- entry and reporting-free visas for businessmen and allowing them to visit five cities instead of the earlier three was operationalised when Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik visited New Delhi on December 14-16, 2012. Agencies

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