Will take peace overtures by Pak seriously: Nirmala

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. PTI File Photo

India would welcome any peace overture from Pakistan, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday.

She also made it clear that the armed forces would not deviate from the government decision of suspending all operations in Jammu & Kashmir during the holy month of Ramzan that would continue till the second week of June.

“Any comment on wanting peace will definitely be taken seriously,” Nirmala said on the sidelines of a DRDO event when asked about the Pakistan army's recent indication of supporting a peaceful resolution of disputes between the two countries through talks.

Pakistan army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa stated last month that a peaceful resolution of disputes, including Kashmir, would be possible through talks between India and Pakistan.

When asked about the recent militant strikes in Jammu & Kashmir despite the halt in operations, the minister said, “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."

Last week the Ministry of Home Affairs announced security forces would not launch any operations in Jammu & Kashmir during Ramzan but they would reserve the right to retaliate if attacked.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and the Opposition National Conference leader Omar Abdullah welcomed the Centre's decision.

The army reluctantly came on board after it was agreed that the forces would be free to retaliate if attacked and the restrictions would impact the intelligence-based operations.

But the cordon and search operations (CASO) and search and destroy operations (SADO) would be put on hold temporarily.

The disputed boundary between India and Pakistan remained militarily very active in the last two years with regular exchange of fire from both sides. Till April 30, the Indian side recorded 863 instances of ceasefire violations along the Line of Control.

There were also several unscheduled talks between the two Director General of Military Operations on how to reduce the firing across the LoC and the International Border.

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Will take peace overtures by Pak seriously: Nirmala

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