Will welcome any move on peace by Pakistan: Sitharaman

RSTV Bureau
File photo of Union Cabinet Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

File photo of Union Cabinet Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Any comment from Islamabad calling for peace between the two countries will be taken seriously by India, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday in the backdrop of the Pakistan Army chief favouring talks to resolve lingering disputes. The minister also said the armed forces will “fully honour” the government’s decision not to launch any operations in Jammu and Kashmir during the holy month of Ramzan.

“Any comment on wanting peace will definitely be taken seriously,” Sitharaman told reporters on the sidelines of an event when asked about Pakistan Army’s recent indication of supporting peaceful resolution of disputes between the two countries through talks.

Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had said last month that a peaceful resolution of disputes, including Kashmir, would be possible through talks between the two countries.

His comments came amid the impression, persisting for decades, that the Pakistan Army was not supportive of talks with India.

Asked about the recent incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistan and whether India would stick to its decision to not launch any operation in Jammu and Kashmir during Ramzan, Sitharaman said the armed forces will abide by what was announced by the Centre.

“We shall fully honour the policy which the Home Ministry on behalf of the government of India announced. The policy has clearly laid out how it is going to pan out and we shall abide by everything that was announced,” Sitharaman said on the sidelines of a seminar on artificial intelligence.

In a major decision, the Home Ministry announced last week Wednesday that security forces will not launch any operations in Jammu and Kashmir during Ramzan but reserve the right to retaliate if attacked.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and opposition National Conference leader Omar Abdullah welcomed the Centre’s decision.

The first NDA government, headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had taken a similar initiative in 2000 by announcing a unilateral suspension of operations for Jammu and Kashmir during Ramzan that year. It continued for five months.

Almost all terrorists groups operating in the Valley in 2000 had rejected the government offer.