NEW DELHI: The Indian army s chief of staff on Monday ordered his commanders to give an "aggressive" response to any firing by Pakistani forces along the de facto border in disputed Kashmir.
"We expect our commanders to be aggressive," General Bikram Singh said ahead of a meeting between Indian and Pakistani commanders to discuss a recent deadly flare-up in the region.
"The orders are very clear: when provoked, I expect my unit commanders should fire back," he added.
India says one of its soldiers was beheaded and another was killed by the Pakistani army on January 8, an incident that has rocked an already fragile peace process between the two sides.
However Pakistan denies that such an incident took place and says that two of its soldiers have also been killed in the last eight days along the so-called Line of Control, where a ceasefire has been in place since 2003.
Singh said the treatment of the Indian soldiers was "an unpardonable act".
"We want the Pakistani army to hand over the head of the soldier as soon as possible," he said at a press conference in New Delhi.
"We want to keep the dialogue process on and also explore the best ways to communicate with Pakistan but the attacks must stop," Singh added.
Meanwhile the family of the decapitated soldier, Lance Naik Hemraj, has gone on a hunger strike as part of a campaign to ensure that his severed head is returned.
"I want my husband s complete body. He served the country and deserves respect," his wife Dharmvati told the Hindi-language Zee TV news channel.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority territory, has been the cause of two of three wars between India and Pakistan since independence from Britain in 1947.