Hours after India warned Pakistan of an “effective and appropriate” response to ceasefire violations along the border, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday hinted at an early resolution, saying “everything will be fine soon”.
The Prime Minister’s remark was in response to a reporter’s query during an at-home gathering at the official residence of Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha on the 82nd Air Force Day. Modi was seen speaking to Army Chief General Dalbir Singh.
Earlier in the day, Raha told reporters that the border “matter is serious” but the government and security forces were doing their best to return the situation to normal.
“India wants good relations with its neighbours… a number of steps are being taken… We are all concerned. Efforts are being made to bring this to an end,” Raha said.
Top government sources ruled out any talks till Pakistan stopped its attacks. “It was the Pakistani side which started the ceasefire violation. There will be no talks till the shelling stops,” a senior official said. “Pakistan should stop (firing). We did not escalate the situation and we are not going to give in to coercive diplomacy.”
Addressing election rallies in Karnal, Faridabad and Kaithal in Haryana, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured people living in the border villages of Jammu and Kashmir that they would soon return to their homes since the Pakistani “misadventure” was being responded to adequately.
“The situation in India has changed and Pakistan should understand this,” he said. Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said India will continue to respond to ceasefire violations. “There is not going to be any flag meeting because our forces are responding appropriately. We will see whatever outcome is there,” he said.
In Jammu, Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in the PMO, said: “There are indications that Pakistani Army is also with the Rangers.” He said the BSF had taken appropriate action. “There is a befitting reply from Indian side and the other side is also realising that the manner in which they are suffering casualties.”
A PTI report from the United Nations headquarters said Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has asked India and Pakistan to resolve their issues diplomatically and through dialogue. Late Wednesday night, fresh firing from Pakistan was reported in Akhnoor.
On Tuesday, the BSF fired 10,000 medium machine gun rounds, the maximum since the clashes at the border. “The jawans have been told to fire with all might and there is no let-up from our side. We still stand by our decision not to hold flag meetings or call up the Pakistan Rangers,” an official said.
Away from the International Border, firing was also reported along the Line of Control. Starting 1.30 pm Tuesday, it continued until 7 am Wednesday. Sources said that the Pakistani fire, which involved automatic weapons and mortars, resulted in splinter injuries to a JCO and two jawans in Poonch.
Seven incidents of ceasefire violation took place — three in Poonch, one each in Balnoi (Mendhar) and Bhimber Gali and two in Krishna Ghati.