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Violations along LoC need to stop, says Jaitley

On the first day of his Srinagar visit earlier on Saturday, Jaitley said the Indian Army was fully equipped and strong enough to deal with ceasefire violations by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir.

india Updated: Jun 16, 2014 00:33 IST
Peerzada Ashiq

Defence minister Arun Jaitley, who is on a two-day visit to Srinagar, said on Sunday that violations along the Line of Control needed to stop. "That (a stop to ceasefire violations by Pakistan) in itself is a confidence-building measure," he said.

"Our soldiers strive selflessly to maintain the sanctity of the LoC and in responding to any ceasefire violations," he added.

The LoC has witnessed four major ceasefire violations since the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power at the Centre. Replying to a question on the ceasefire violations by Pakistan on the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district of Jammu region on Friday, when the Pakistani Army used mortars to target Indian positions, the defence minister had said: "Our army is strong enough and well-equipped to deal with such violations."

"I came here to review security… I am quite optimistic about the situation here," the defence minister said on the concluding day of his visit on Sunday.

During his maiden visit to Jammu and Kashmir, Jaitley also took stock of the security scenario and chaired a meeting of the unified headquarters with chief minister Omar Abdullah. He is accompanied by army chief General Bikram Singh on the visit.

Unified headquarters is the apex security grid in the state comprising the army, paramilitary forces, state and central intelligence agencies, local police and senior officials of the state government.

"Co-chaired an important security review with @arunjaitley (Arun Jaitley). I'm glad he returns to Delhi with an appreciation of the situation & challenges (sic)," Abdullah tweeted after one of the meetings.

The defence minister visited forward areas along the LoC and the India-Pakistan boundary in Jammu and Kashmir and said Indian soldiers were doing a commendable job in safeguarding the country. "Visited the Army Posts at the LoC in the Haji Pir Area. Our soldiers are doing a commendable job in safeguarding the country," Jaitley said in a tweet after the visit.

Any decision on revoking the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Jammu and Kashmir will depend on the progress in the situation in the state over a period of time, Jaitley said.

"As far as today's situation is concerned, our armed forces and local security forces have been handling the situation. Over the period of time, we have to watch how the situation progresses," Jaitley told reporters at the end of his two-day visit to the state.

The defence minister also said the Amarnath Yatra would begin soon and he hoped the process would be as peaceful as the recently-concluded elections.

With inputs from Agencies