Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, known for his aggressive posture towards cross-border terrorism, has welcomed what he termed the “calm” on the Line of Control (LoC). He further stated that India wants to have friendly relationship with Pakistan.
Parrikar, however, added that this does not mean India will not be prepared for any eventuality.
Responding to a question on reports of ceasefire violations declining ever since the change of guard in Pakistan army after Qamar Bajwa took over the post in November last year, the Defence Minister said he appreciates that the new Pakistani General has managed to make his forces understand their neighbour’s concerns.
The LoC has often witnessed intense shelling from both the sides, especially during the most part of last year which saw attacks like Uri and Pathankot and India’s retaliation through ‘surgical strikes’. That also resulted in near diplomatic freeze between the two countries.
“We wish to have good relationship with Pakistan and China. There should be no reason why we should be fighting and consider them with doubt. As far as I am concerned, I don’t consider any action as doubt. If he has kept calm, then I welcome it,” he said.
“But that doesn’t mean I will not be prepared. My preparedness is an independent exercise, which is not offensive. It is for my defence,” the minister added.
Responding to another question on reports of China deploying aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons along the Indian border, Parrikar said, “If security interests of India are in danger, we will take adequate steps to protect ourselves.”
Notably, India and Pakistan had agreed to a ceasefire agreement in 2003 which virtually became redundant with a whopping over 300 incidents of firing and shelling along LoC and International Border in J&K by Pakistani troops till January 1 since the surgical strike on terrorist launch pads
in PoK on September 28-29, 2016.
These firing and shelling by Pakistan troops had resulted in death of 27 people, including 14 security personnel.
(With inputs from the PTI)