India today lodged a strong protest against the ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) and made it clear to it that the Army reserves the right to retaliate at the place and time of its choosing in case heinous acts of mutilation of soldiers' bodies recur.
The Army's position was conveyed at a brigadier-level flag meeting between the two sides at Chakan-Da-Bagh crossing-point in Poonch sector of Jammu region.
During the 30-minute meeting that took place in the backdrop of mounting tensions over repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan and beheading of one of the two Indian soldiers last week, the Indian representative expressed grave concern over the barbaric act by Pakistani troops in the ambush in Mendhar sector.
"Indian Army lodged a strong protest against the heinous mutilation of our deceased soldier’s bodies, pointing out that it was against the tenets of the Geneva Convention as also in contravention to all established norms of soldierly behaviour.
"It was conveyed to the Pakistan delegation that such a dastardly and cowardly act is totally unacceptable and is a premeditated attempt to undermine the ceasefire agreement of 2003, which can lead to further escalation," the Indian side said.
An official release said after the meeting that it was conveyed in no uncertain terms that repetition of such acts will not be tolerated.
"The Indian Army reserves the right to retaliate at the place and time of our own choosing in case they recur," the release said echoing the Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh's statement in Delhi ahead of the flag meeting.
The Army Chief had also said that the Indian side will take up with Pakistan the issue of return of the head of Lance Naik Hemraj, one of the two soldiers killed by Pakistan on January 8.
On its part, the Pakistan delegation leader denied their involvement in the incident and any ceasefire violation by their troops.
Pakistani side repeated the "false and fabricated" allegations that Indian troops crossed the LoC and killed one of their soldier's and injured another.
Their response was on expected lines wherein they stated that no ceasefire violation has been initiated by their troops, the release said, adding the situation along the LoC was being closely monitored.
Amid escalating tension along the LoC, the Indian Army had sent a hotline message to the Pakistan Army on January 11 and called for a Brigade Commander-level flag meeting to discuss the issues of brutal killing of two jawans after a major intrusion by Pakistani troops and increasing incidents of firing and ceasefire violations in Poonch sector.
Pakistan had yesterday responded to the request for flag meeting through hot-line.
Pakistan has suspended cross-LoC trade and travel at Chakan-Da-Bagh crossing point in Poonch sector since Thursday and Friday respectively.
This is second Brigade Commander-level flag meeting held along the LoC in Poonch in the last six months.
A Brigade Commander-level flag meeting was held on June 23 last year to discuss the killing of two soldiers in ceasefire violations, besides closure of LoC trade and travel between two sides via Chakan-Da-Bagh point.
The two jawans, including one of BSF, were killed and four injured in firing by Pakistan troops in four ceasefire violations between June 11 and June 16 last year along the LoC in Poonch sector.
Ahead of the meeting, Pakistani troops had yesterday violated the ceasefire targeting Indian posts in Poonch sector.
Pakistan troops had fired on the Indian posts in Nangitikri forward area along LoC in Poonch district around 1630 hours yesterday, after heavy overnight firing in Krishnaghati sub-sector in Poonch.