‘TALKS AND AGGRESSION CANNOT GO TOGETHER’
Despite the bonhomie created by the visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for the swearing-in ceremony of the new government, the Centre has put the caveat that dialogue with Pakistan could progress only if ceasefire violations and cross-border infiltrations end.
Talking to the reporters in Srinagar, defence minister Arun Jaitley, on a two-day visit to the Valley, said it was extremely important that the violations which were taking place at the LoC must stop for the situation to normalise.
Replying to mediapersons’ queries negatively when asked if a dialogue with Pakistan would go ahead if the ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir continued, Jaitley said it was obviously not possible. The minister, however, also added, ‘There are forces which are inimical to India, which would not like peace to continue. Talks and aggression can’t go together. For the situation to normalise, it is important for the ceasefire violations to stop.’ The focus of his visit was on the recent violations of the bilateral ceasefire agreement by the Pakistani Army along the LoC. Speaking on the ceasefire violations, he said, ‘They go on from the other end, our jawans protect and retaliate. I am confident that our security forces will be in a position to repudiate any such attempt.’
‘Visited the Army Posts at the LoC in the Haji Pir Area. Our soldiers are doing a commendable job in safeguarding the country,’ Jaitley said in a tweet after the visit. He said he was confident after the review and he was ‘going back with a sense of reasonable satisfaction.’ Answering a query on the possibility of talks with separatists, Jaitley said, ‘We are willing to hold talks with anyone who respects the Constitution and India’s sovereignty.’
The defence minister claimed that he was ‘quite optimistic’ about the situation in the state. ‘Even when I am optimistic, there is an element of caution in my optimism,’ he added. The minister’s comments came in the wake of a special security review meeting in Srinagar to discuss internal security, the situation along the LoC and arrangements for the Amarnath yatra in Jammu, among other issues. The meeting on Sunday was attended by Jaitley, chief minister Omar Abdullah and top officials of the Army and the state police. Accompanied by Army chief General Bikram Singh and GOC 15 corps Gurmeet Singh, Jaitley arrived at Badami Bagh Army headquarters to review the security situation in the Valley, in Srinagar, on Saturday. On the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act, he said, ‘We are watching the situation. It is too premature for me to comment now.’
India has maintained that it has been its endeavour to establish peaceful and friendly relations with all neighbours, including Pakistan.
It has reminded Pakistan that maintenance of peace and tranquility on the border is a ‘pre-condition’ for having a normal relationship between the two nations.