Ceasefire violations along LoC must stop, says Arun Jaitley

Defense Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday will visit frontier areas of the Line of Control and interact with Army officers to evaluate the security situation there.

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Srinagar: Stating that the only motive behind his visit to Jammu and Kashmir was to assess the security situation there and wish for a peaceful atmosphere in the restive state, Defense Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said that there was no political reason for his visit as elections were over.

Accompanied by Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh, Jaitley arrived in Srinagar yesterday on a two-day trip to assess the security situation of the restive region.

The Defence Minister also chaired a unified headquarters meeting with the top brass of Indian police, Army, paramilitary forces, and intelligence agencies in attendance. J&K CM Omar Abdullah also attended the meeting, which was held to take stock of the security situation, the LoC and the Amarnath Yatra which is to begin soon.

Speaking about the frequent ceasefire violations along the Line of Control(LoC), Jaitley said that the firing from across the border must stop as the ceasefire is in itself "a Confidence Building Measure".

"Talks and aggression can`t go together. For the situation to normalise, it is important for the ceasefire violations to stop," he said.

Ruling out any political motive behind his trip, Jaitley said, that he "came here to review security, I am quite optimistic about the situation here", he told reporters at a press conference held after he visited the LoC.

"I wish that peace prevails here... I am going back with the sense of reasonable satisfaction," said Jaitley.

Answering a question whether or not the new government was in favour of holding talks with the separatists, Jaitley said that the government would talk with "anyone who respects the constitution and India`s sovereignty".

"Amarnath yatra will begin soon and I hope it will be as peaceful as the elections", said the Defense Minister adding that the centre "will give whatever assistance is required for development of Jammu & Kashmir".

Jaitley`s remarks came a day after he made a strong statement on tackling ceasefire violation from across the border on first day of his maiden trip to Jammu and Kashmir.

Jaitley had yesterday said that Indian Army was capable enough to retort to cease-fire violations by Pakistani troops.

Jaitley`s remarks came as his first visit to Jammu and Kashmir was preceded by heavy firing from Pakistan`s side at the LoC in Jammu`s Poonch area on Friday morning. Indian forces responded ineffectively with similar calibre weapons.

J&K CM Omar Abdullah had also questioned the timing of ceasefire violation, linking it to Jaitley`s arrival.

"Is it just a coincidence that the Defence Minister is visiting J&K, for his 1st visit, to review the security situation tomorrow?" Omar tweeted.

The incidences of ceasefire violations increased in frequency in the run up to the Lok sabha elections and have continued after that with the firing at the LoC on Friday being
the fourth since the new BJP-government led by Narendra Modi took over.

Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh said it has been India`s endeavour to establish peaceful and friendly relations with all neighbours, including Pakistan. 
"On firing, I will like to reiterate that peace and tranquility on the border is of the highest importance in establishing the pre-condition for such peaceful and normal relationship," she told reporters. 

"Maintenance of peace and tranquility on LoC is one of the most important CBMs between India and Pakistan. That remains and will remain the case," she said. pealed for maintaining truce along Indo-Pak border.

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