PM will make statement when appropriate: Salman Khurshid

New Delhi, Aug. 8 (ANI): External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Thursday assured that Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh will make a statement on the Line of Control (LoC) killings at an appropriate time.

Khurshid also said Defence Minister A.K. Antony's statement in Parliament today must not be taken as a changed, but as an updated statement.

"Even Advani didn't speak in Parliament, what does this mean? When we are there, when the second line is there, we are asked to go and do something. It is not appropriate for the Prime Minister to talk on every issue. When the players of a particular team cannot take the ball forward, then the Captain will come forward and tell us how to move forward. He guides us, and at the appropriate time, the Prime Minister has come forward and spoken, and will do the same in the future," Khurshid said.

After the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) staged a walk out of Parliament on Thursday, protesting the Defence Minister's initial statement on the killing of five jawans along the LoC by Pakistani troops, A.K. Antony issued a fresh statement with updated facts that he had received from the Chief of Army Staff, General Bikram Singh, who had visited Jammu and Kashmir yesterday.

"The Defence Minister has not changed his statement. He made the previous statement based on facts and information that was available to him at the time. He made his statement truly reflective of the facts that were given to him by the Army at the time. Today, the Defence Ministry made its statement on the basis of the updated facts which it received after the Chief of Army Staff visited Poonch and gathered additional facts of the incident. This is today's statement, that was yesterday's statement. ... Defence Minister's statement reflects the best interest of the country. We have done what was needed and carried out our responsibility today. Ahead, we will do the same," Khurshid said.

While Pakistan has denied the involvement of its troops in the incident, Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Wednesday said that the intruders who killed the five Indian soldiers were "terrorists along with persons dressed in Pakistan Army uniform."

Antony's Wednesday statement had attracted a lot of flak, as it has contradicted the Indian Army's account, which said that the perpetrators were "soldiers from the Pakistan Army." The BJP-led opposition had accused the Central Government of "giving the Pakistan Army a clean chit."

Antony, in his updated statement to both Houses of Parliament said, "It is now clear that Specialist Forces of the Pakistan Army were involved in the attack. Those in Pakistan who are responsible for this tragedy, should not go unpunished. Our restraint should not be taken for granted."

"We all know that nothing happens from the Pakistan side of the LoC without the support, assistance, facilitation and often, direct involvement of the Pakistan Army. Pakistan must take steps to punish those responsible for the attack. Pakistan should also dismantle all terrorist apparatus on its soil," said Antony.

He also warned that attacks such as this will have consequences not only on the Line of Control (LoC), but also naturally on the (future) relationship with Pakistan.

He said that the Indian Government would not stand by the wayside and allow the sanctity of the LoC to be violated time and again.

"The capacity of our armed forces, the resolve of the government to uphold the sanctity of the LoC should not be doubted," Antony added.

Though his updated statement has been welcomed by the BJP, the opposition party has demanded that Parliamentary discussions focus on the incident and have asked for a suspension of talks with Pakistan.

Khurshid said that it was not an appropriate time to discuss the decision on talks with Pakistan but assured that the Government of India will be sending a strong message to Pakistan.

"Today is not an appropriate time or the atmosphere in which I should be talking about talks. When there is an occasion for us to reflect upon the conditions prevailing and the situation and implication of whatever has happened, including responses we will get in due course from Pakistan, we can then take a call. Today is not the right time to be discussing this. We have been firm and strong in our stand and will continue to do so," Khurshid said.

"We are not getting proof that Pakistan wants to embark on a peace process with us. The repeated incidents don't give us clarity on the matter right now; when we get that, we will see what is to be done," Khurshid added.

On Thursday, the BJP had welcomed the Antony's updated statement and Leader of Opposition (Lok Sabha) Sushma Swaraj had acknowledged it on the Floor of the House.

"The opposition is not politicising the issue, but we were just trying to show Pakistan the real sentiment of the Parliament and the people of this country through your medium. Today, the entire Parliament supports this statement of yours and sends out a message to Pakistan that such incident cannot be repeated again," Swaraj said today.

Earlier, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha expressed that his party was satisfied with the statement but reiterated that they were strongly against pursuing talks with Pakistan, in light of the killing along the LoC. (ANI)


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