New Delhi: Any comment from Pakistan calling for peace between the two countries will be taken seriously by India, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday, against the backdrop of Pakistan Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa favouring talks to resolve lingering disputes.
“Any comment on wanting peace will definitely be taken seriously," Sitharaman said on the sidelines of a seminar on artificial intelligence, in response to a query on the Pakistan Army’s recent comments that were seemingly supportive of a resolution of disputes between India and Pakistan through talks.
News reports last month quoted Bajwa as saying that a peaceful resolution of disputes, including Kashmir, would be possible through dialogue. The perception in India has been that the Pakistan army, seen as the arbiter of the country’s policy on India, generally does not support peace with its neighbour.
Asked about the recent incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistan and whether India would stick to its decision to not launch any operation in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) during Ramzan, Sitharaman said the forces will abide by what was announced by the government. “We shall fully honour the policy which the home ministry on behalf of 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," she said.
Indian security forces will also “fully honour" the government’s decision not to launch any operations in J&K during Ramzan, she said.
The home ministry announced on Wednesday that security forces will not launch any operations in J&K during Ramzan but reserve the right to retaliate if attacked. J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and opposition National Conference leader Omar Abdullah welcomed the Centre’s decision. The first NDA government, headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had taken a similar initiative in 2000 by announcing a unilateral suspension of operations for Jammu and Kashmir during Ramzan that year. It continued for five months. Almost all terrorists groups operating in the Valley in 2000 had rejected the government offer.
Earlier, in her speech, Sitharaman underlined the need for incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) in the Army, Navy and the Air Force. She said AI can also be utilised in checking chemical, biological and nuclear weapons as well as keeping a vigil on outer space.