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Business with Pak can’t be as usual: PM

New Delhi: In his first response to the recent escalating tensions between India and Pakistan over the killing of two jawans by Pak troops  near Line of Control, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said that it cannot be business as usual with Pakistan.

"After this barbaric act there cannot be business as usual (with Pakistan)," he said.

He emphasised that those responsible for the 'barbaric act' of beheading of Lance Naik Hemraj will have to be brought to book and hoped 'Pakistan realises this'. "Those responsible for this crime will have to be brought to book. I hope Pakistan realises this," the Prime Minister said.

He was responding to reporters at the Army Day reception hosted by Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh in New Delhi.

When pointed out that Pakistan was in a denial mode on the cross-LoC attack, the Prime Minister said, "We will keep trying". Asked about the options vis-a-vis Pakistan, he said "These cannot be discussed in the open. There will be a statement by government in this regard," he added.

Notably, on January 6, two Indian soldiers were killed and another two injured by Pakistani army troops who crossed into Indian territory along the LoC. The body of one of the jawans who was killed was mutilated.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said that India has taken a ‘very firm position’ on the issue with Pakistan as the act is ‘totally unacceptable and barbaric’. Referring to Monday's Flag Meeting, he said, "We may not be happy with the outcome but the process is still on."

On the government's decision to put visa-on-arrival on hold, Khurshid said it has not been called off but only deferred. "Nobody has utilised it as yet," he added.

Asked whether India has set any timeline for Pakistan to act, Khurshid said, "there is no timeline. But we are actually pressing (Pakistan) very hard." He indicated that the incident would have impact on the bilateral engagement with Pakistan although there would not be total freeze.

The incident would be factored in while scheduling meetings etc, the External Affairs Minister said. At the same time, he said there was no precedent to show what can be done in the present situation.

Replying to questions, he said the army's view will be considered in whatever decision the government takes.

"We should not take a final, conclusive and definitive position on anything... We can take a view that it was totally unacceptable and barbaric... To have a final conclusion will have adverse effect," Khurshid said.

On the repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan, he said, "one violation is too many. But we live in a real world. It is not an utopian world."

(JPN/Agencies)

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