SRINAGAR: India’s Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said that dialogue with Pakistan “cannot progress” if ceasefire “violations” and “infiltration continue.”
“For the situation to normalize, I think it is extremely important that these kind of violations which are taking place at LoC must stop. That in itself is a confidence building measure before any country can proceed further,” Jaitley told reporters at a news conference here.
Jaitley, who arrived in Srinagar on Saturday on a two-day visit to the state, said that he was on a security review and had different meeting with stakeholders.
“My prime reason to come to Kashmir was to review security situation for which I had meetings with army officials, Governor, Chief Minister, and had one-on-one meeting with them. Today in the morning I also visited Uri sector and met soldiers also,” he said.
He said there is a setup of security review and after the discussion with state and Central agencies he was “quite optimistic” about the situation in J&K.
“We had very peaceful Lok Sabha elections. We have very good tourism season going on here. And in the end of this month Amaranth Yatra starts, and our assessment is that it will go on peacefully and successfully. Our wish is that the situation here should remain peaceful. In the end of this year elections are going to be held in this state also,” he said.
Jaitley said that he found the armed forces “completely dominating” and stopping infiltration bids at the LoC.
“I am quite optimistic about the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir and I will go back with a sense of reasonable satisfaction,” he said, adding that at many sectors along the LoC, “our security forces have dominated over the infiltrators and have succeeded to stop from entering into our territory. And they are giving appropriate response to them.”
Jaitley refused to comment on the revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), saying he was not in a position to comment over the issue.
“As far as today the situation is concerned armed forces and also the local security forces have been handling situation over the period of time we have to watch how the situation progresses. As far as your question is concerned today I am not in a position to make any comment,” he said in reply to a reporter’s query.
In reply to a question about the surfacing of an Al-Qaida video in which they have urged Kashmiris to wage Jihad on India, Jaitley said, “Obviously there are forces which are inimical to India which would not like peace to continue. I am reasonably confident that India as a state will not to allow such elements to foment trouble in India.”
“Even when I am optimistic, there is an element of caution in my optimism because people inimical to India will try to foment trouble,” he said.
Commenting on the US pullout from Afghanistan and its aftermath, Jaitley said that even though he was “confident and optimistic about the security situation there is a sense of caution as well.”
“I am confident that the security forces will be in a position to repudiate any such attempt.”
When asked about reviewing the cases pending in his ministry for many years for permission for prosecution of soldiers involved in crimes, Jaitley said that every case would be decided on its own merits.
“In case the permission has no basis, review to such cases would not be allowed, but if there is basis in wake of the human rights violations, it would be reviewed. Therefore, each case will be decided on its merits,” he said.
Jaitley said they are willing to talk anyone but within the ambit of constitution, with no compromise on India’s sovereignty.
“We are willing to talk to everybody who wants to function within the framework of Constitution of India and India’s sovereignty,” he said. “These are two issues with without there can be no compromise.”
He said in the presidential address in the Parliament the intent was made clear about the return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits.
“In fact all political groups in the Valley also support the idea of return and rehabilitation and, therefore, you will have to wait for a few days for us to announce our further policy measures on that,” he said.
Jaitley also said that his visit to J&K was not political one but only to review the security situation in the state.
“I also want to clear that the motive behind my visit here was not any political one but to review the situation,” he said.
“I had come only with only one motive and that was security review and after reviewing I am confident we have prepared, and I am going back with a sense of reasonable satisfaction.”
He also said that he had made a list of the pending decisions that had come up before also.
“After the discussion with security forces and state government, that had come in the discussion with the Central government earlier, and those which are pending for implementations regarding security apparatus, I have made a list of those and we will try to follow up those pendency,” he said.
On a question about the Chinese incursion in Ladakh region, Jaitley said the Indian armed forces “are not and have not compromised the territorial integrity of the country.”
“Whether on LoC or International Border or Actual line of Control, our armed forces don’t compromise and had never compromised about its territory,” he said.
Jaitley, who also holds Finance ministry portfolio, said that he will look into the slow pace into implementation of former PM Manmohan Singh’s reconstruction plan for the state.
“I will certainly look into that. And I can also tell you as far as J&K state is concerned we will give whatever assistance is required for the development of the state for which we will take special efforts,” he said.
Army chief General Bikram Singh, GOC-in-C Northern Command Lieutenant General D.S. Hooda and GOC 15th Corps Lt Gen Gurmeet Singh were also present during Jaitley’s press conference.