India-Pakistan cross border row deepens

Indian protesters set a Pakistani flag on fire during an anti-Pakistan demonstration in New Delhi on January 9, 2013.

Angry protesters have staged an anti-Pakistan rally in India amid escalating tensions between the two neighbors over cross-border clashes in the past few days.

The demonstration, which was held on Wednesday amid tightened security around the Pakistani Embassy in New Delhi, had been organized by India’s main opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Indian protesters burned the Pakistani flag and called for the suspension of New Delhi’s diplomatic ties with Islamabad.

“The Indian government is following a very wrong policy… they invite their prime minister and president for visits whereas the neighboring country has been violating ceasefire norms, treats our troops with brutality which is unheard of in any civil country,” Reuters quoted senior BJP leader, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, as saying.

Malhotra urged the suspension of “all talks with Pakistan” and called for retaliation should the Pakistani side continue to violate a 2003 ceasefire along the Line of Control, the de facto border that divides Kashmir between the two countries.

India accuses its western neighbor of sending troops across the disputed region of Kashmir, saying two Indian soldiers were killed in gunfire from Pakistani forces.

On Wednesday, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry dismissed India’s claim as a propaganda aimed at diverting attention from the attack by Indian troops, which killed one Pakistani soldier on Sunday.

“Pakistan is prepared to hold investigations through the United Nations Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan on the recent cease-fire violations on the Line of Control,” the ministry stated.

Kashmir lies at the heart of more than 60 years of hostility between India and Pakistan. Both countries claim the region in full but each only has control over a section of the territory.

MRS/MHB