Pakistan Army chief general Raheel Sharif on Thursday warned his force would give a “befitting response” to alleged Indian violations of the truce along the Line of Control, less than a week before the Indian foreign secretary’s visit to Islamabad.
During a visit to the Sialkot Garrison and forward locations on the border with India, Sharif said, “repeated Indian ceasefire violations on working boundary and Line of Control in the recent past are a distraction for Pakistan from its campaign against terrorism and adversely affect regional stability”.
Sharif said, “ Let there be no doubt that any provocation along the Line of Control and Working Boundary will meet a befitting response.”
A statement from the Pakistani military said Sharif was given a detailed briefing by local commanders about the prevailing security situation at the border with India.
Sharif visited towns and villages affected by “Indian unprovoked firing along” the border, the statement said.
Pakistan and India have traded heavy fire in the area in recent months.
Sharif claimed the “entire nation (would) stand united along with its armed forces while defending the motherland”.
Earlier Thursday, the foreign office said that it would raise all issues with the Indian top diplomat during his visit to Islamabad.
There was no immediate reaction from the Indian government to Sharif’s statement, which came just ahead of Indian foreign secretary S Jaishankar’s visit to Islamabad on March 3 as part of a “South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Yatra”. The visit is being seen as part of efforts to take forward India-Pakistan ties after a freeze of six months.
India broke off foreign secretary-level talks in August last at the eleventh hour because the Pakistan high commissioner in New Delhi held consultations with Kashmiri separatists.