Heavy shelling on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir early Friday prompted New Delhi to remind Pakistan that peace and tranquility on the border was a “pre-condition” for forging a normal relationship. The attack came on a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi met defence officials to discuss India’s war preparedness
The Congress called the ceasefire violation “an open challenge” and didn’t lose the chance to target Modi. “Whenever such an incident took place during UPA regime, Modi would say that the problem is not at the border but in the mind of the people sitting in Delhi,” party spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said, “we want to ask the PM today if he has taken some lessons,” he added.
The government, meanwhile, said its policy towards neighbours has always been to “work towards peaceful and cordial relationship”. “A sari and letter diplomacy helps that,” foreign secretary Sujatha Singh said.
She added that, “…peace and tranquillity on the border is of the highest importance… for peaceful and normal relationship. That remains, and will remain the case.”
Modi and Sharif have exchanged gifts and letters reaffirming the need for a peaceful ‘atmosphere’ for bilateral talks.
The timing of the attack was questioned by chief minister Omar Abdullah as it came a day before defence minister Arun Jaitley was to visit the state. “Is it just a coincidence that the defence minister is visiting J&K, for his 1st visit, to review the security situation tomorrow?” Omar tweeted.
None were injured in Friday’s attack, but an IED blast a day before near the LoC in Poonch killed one jawan and injured three others. Between end of April and mid-May, 19 incidents of ceasefire violation have been reported along the LoC.
In Modi’s defence meet, army chief General Bikram Singh apprised Modi of the situation along the line of control in J-K and the line of actual control along China.
In a detailed briefing also attended by Jaitley, national security adviser Ajit Doval and defence secretary RK Mathur, Bikram apprised them of the combat readiness of the force, its challenges and an assessment of the internal security scenario in the country.