India govt faces pressure to scrap peace talksAgence France-Presse . New Delhi
India’s government faced mounting pressure Wednesday to put proposed peace talks with Pakistan back in the deep freeze after a deadly cross-border attack on its troops in disputed Kashmir.
The opposition accused the government of letting Pakistan off the hook over the killing of five soldiers in Kashmir, as the attack overnight Monday triggered uproar in parliament.
The defence minister, AK Antony, told parliament Tuesday that ‘20 heavily armed terrorists along with persons dressed in Pakistani Army uniforms’ had staged the ambush.
India’s army had initially blamed the attack on regular Pakistan troops but later withdrew the statement.
‘Our defence minister has given a clean chit to Pakistan,’ Sushma Swaraj, lower house leader of the opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, told parliament.
The defence minister ‘has let the country down. He must apologise to the nation,’ she said as the uproar forced parliament’s adjournment.
Analysts said the killings had jeopardised efforts to arrange a meeting between India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his new Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Senior BJP leader LK Advani told lawmakers ‘this is no time for talks’ between the nuclear-armed rivals as news channels ran footage of the arrival of the soldiers’ flag-draped coffins in New Delhi.
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