He rejected the perception that Indian military has not retaliated against the beheading of its soldiers by Pakistani troops last year.

"Let me assure you that action has been taken. If I can invite the attention to the Geo TV report on December 23 which talked of their one officer and nine jawans being killed with 12-13 being wounded. This has happened due to firing of your soldiers on ground. They have done their bit," he said.

"The soldiers are doing a stupendous job. The local units are doing a good job. The soldiers have reacted well and they have reacted well as required," he added.

When referred to the repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC), the Army Chief said, "It depends, if rules are followed by our neighbours, we follow the rules. If rules are broken, then obviously we cannot stick to the rules. Even we are going to break the rules."

At the same time, he said ‘through retaliation, the endeavour is not to escalate the situation into operational or strategic arena. It is to deal with the same measure and give a befitting response in a professional manner’.

One Indian soldier was beheaded by Pakistan Army troops in a cross-border assault on Januray 8 last year. General Singh had after the incident said that the Indian Army reserves the right to retaliate at the time and place of its choice.

Elaborating on this statement, General Singh said he wanted to give the "freedom of action to local commanders to deal with the situation accordingly as they deemed appropriate."

Commenting on Monday's ceasefire violation, the Army Chief said he has asked the Director General (Military Operations) Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia to look into the matter and talk to his Pakistani counterpart on the issue.

General Singh said the particular violation in Poonch area on Monday started after Indian troops detected movement of three terrorists trying to infiltrate into Indian side.

"We will give them a befitting reply if infiltration is attempted," he said.

The Army Chief said this was first incident of ceasefire violation after October 27 when the DGMOs of the two countries talked to each other and it will be taken up with Pakistan side.

On a mysterious video purportedly showing the head of Lance Naik Hemraj, who was beheaded by Pakistan Army last year, he said the force was verifying the authenticity of the footage and if it is correct, it would be taken up at appropriate level.

He criticized the media for showing the video, saying the soldiers should be portrayed only as heroes.

Commenting on the Machhil encounter, the Army Chief said the legal procedures have brought out charges against two officers and jawans and they are facing the summary General Court Martial.

He said the action taken by the Army in the Machhil case will send out a strong message in the service against staging fake encounters in future and it has reiterated the Do's and Don'ts and ten commandments of the Chief of Army Staff on human rights issue.

"There is a zero tolerance policy towards human rights violations and this shows our commitment in this direction. We have the utmost respect for the law of the land and we will uphold it," General Singh said.

He refused to comment on the proceedings in the Pathribal case, saying the matter was sub-judice and it was not appropriate for him to comment on it.

(Agencies)

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