Even as Pakistan continues to violate ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and target civilian areas at the international border, India on Thursday issued a stern warning to the neighbouring country, saying its “adventurism” at the border will cost it dearly.
Addressing a press conference in the national capital, his first after having been discharged from the hospital, Union Defence Minister Arun Jaitley talked tough to Pakistan. He said, “If Pakistan persists with this adventurism, our forces will make the cost of this adventurism unaffordable.”
Dismissing Pakistan’s allegations of aggression by India, the Defence Minister said, “India is a responsible state. It is never an aggressor. But at the same time, it has a paramount duty to defend its people and its territory. Our Armed Forces particularly the Army and the BSF in this case have only one option – that is to respond adequately and defend our territory and our people.”
Praising the forces for doing a “commendable” job in the “face of these unprovoked acts of aggression by Pakistan” Jaitley said, “Pakistan in this case has clearly been the aggressor…but it must realise that our deterrence will be credible. If Pakistan persists with this adventurism, our forces will make the cost of this adventurism unaffordable.”
The Defence Minister further ruled out any talks with Pakistan, saying there cannot be any talks between the two countries as long as the firing is on.
Jaitley said that the firing by Pakistan along LoC is connected to infiltration attempts by terrorists. According to the Defence Minister, the firing is done to provide cover to those trying to infiltrate into India. He said “Pakistan needs to stop what it is doing, if it wants peace along the LoC…the adventurism will cost them dearly”.
Jaitley added that “Pakistan should stop this unprovoked firing and shelling if it wants peace. As long as that continues, how can there be peace? How can you talk when firing is on?”
Responding to criticism by the opposition parties, Jaitley said that the responses from “some” political leaders are “ill informed”. “There is a need of communication that leaders across political parties must understand what our forces are doing there… I have seen some ill informed responses from some senior leaders…in this, it is not only Congress leaders but also NCP leader who has been a former defence minister– at least he should have known,” he said.
This came hours after at least eight people, including three BSF personnel, were injured as firing by Pakistan rangers spread all along the international border. As many as 60 Indian border outposts were also targeted by the Pakistani side.