Army can reply to any Pak ceasefire violation, says Jaitley

Army can reply to any Pak ceasefire violation, says Jaitley

Army can reply to any Pak ceasefire violation, says Jaitley

Amid rising incidents of ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops along the Line and Control (LoC) and the international border in Jammu and Kashmir in recent weeks, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said the country’s forces were capable of responding to any eventuality on the borders.

Responding to questions by reporters about the rising ceasefire violations by Pakistan, he said, “Our forces are capable of responding to it.”

Jaitley was interacting with reporters at Raj Bhavan here after his arrival on a two-day visit to review the security situation in the state.

Over the last two weeks, 19 incidents of ceasefire violation have been reported along the LoC. On Friday, Pakistan troops had targeted Indian forward posts in the Poonch sector with mortar shells, prompting India to remind it that maintenance of peace along the border is a “pre-condition” for normalisation of relations.

The firing came a day after two IED blasts in the Tarkundi forward area along the LoC in Poonch, in which one trooper was killed and five others injured.

On Saturday, Jaitley reviewed the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir and along the borders with Pakistan and China accompanied by Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and senior army officers. 

Jaitley, with Army Chief General Bikram Singh, was straight taken to the 15-Corps headquarters at Badami Bagh cantonment in a chopper from Srinagar International Airport upon his arrival on Saturday morning, sources told Deccan Herald.

“Jaitley was briefed about the current security situation in the state and on the borders by Northern Army Commander Lt General D S Hooda, and commanders of the 14, 15 and 16 Corps,” they said.

The defence minister was also briefed about infiltration attempts by militants from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. “The senior Army commanders briefed him about strengthening of the counter-infiltration grid along the LoC over the years, which has led to the decline of infiltration of militants,” said the sources, adding that the Army commanders also discussed the militants' plans for infiltration this summer ahead of the Assembly elections and the counter-strategy adopted by the security agencies.

Later in the day, an official spokesman said the defence minister had a one-on-one meeting with chief Minister Omar Abdullah. 

“During the meeting, which lasted for over an hour, the two leaders discussed the current situation along the LoC and the borders. Matters pertaining to the state government's preparedness to conduct Amarnath Yatra smoothly also came up for discussion,” he said.

Abdullah shared with Jaitley, also Union finance minister, certain critical financial matters relating to the development of Jammu and Kashmir, added the spokesman.