Talks, ceasefire violations can’t go together: Jaitley

*Govt’s policy decision on Pandits’ return soon
Fayaz Bukhari

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley addressing a press conference in Srinagar on Sunday.  —Excelsior/Amin War
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley addressing a press conference in Srinagar on Sunday. —Excelsior/Amin War

SRINAGAR, June 15: Defence Minister, Arun Jaitley, today said that ceasefire violations by Pakistan can’t go together with the talks’ process and assured special financial assistance to the militancy affected Jammu and Kashmir.
Jaitley after concluding his two day visit to Kashmir told a news conference in Srinagar that ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) and talks with Pakistan can’t go together.  “Obviously they can’t. Therefore for the situation to normalize it is extremely important that these kinds of violations which are taking at the LoC must stop. That itself is a confidence building measure for any country to proceed further.”
“You have to wait for the situation to evolve over a period of time. And therefore these are not the questions on which you make off the cuff comments”, the Defence Minister said on resuming of peace talks with Pakistan.
On holding talks with separatist groups in Kashmir, he said that Government is willing to work with anybody within the framework of Constitution of the country. “We are willing to work with anybody who is ready to function within the frame work of Indian constitution and India’s sovereignty and these are the two issues on which there will be no compromise.”
Jaitley said that the forces inimical to India like Al-Qaeda, which asked Kashmiris to wage violent Jihad against India in a recent video, will try to foment trouble but assured that India is strong enough to deal with such kind of a situation.
“Obviously, there are forces which are inimical to India which would not like peace to continue. And therefore we factor in all these when we discuss the situations. I am reasonable confident that the strength of India as a state not to allow such elements to foment trouble in India is considerable. Even when I am optimistic there is an element of caution in my optimism because people inimical to India as is the example (Al-Qaeda video) you have just given will try and foment trouble,”  the Defence Minister said.
Jaitley said that India has to watch the situation as it develops from the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan but assured that country is prepared to deal with such threats.
“We have to watch the situation how it develops as it progresses. That is what I precisely said that with our level of preparedness, even though I am fully confident and optimistic and there is an element of caution because of these very kind of threats. I am confident that our security forces would be in a position to repudiate any such attempts if they are made,” the Defence Minister said.
On frequent incursions into Indian Territory by Chinese PLA along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Jaitley said: “The troops deployed at the LAC deal with these incursions as per the requirement. And that is why on our own territory, whether it is LoC, International Border or LAC we will not allow any compromise on that and we have not done it so far.” He said “India is capable of handling its own sovereignty.”
Jaitley refused to comment on the revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and said that situation has to be watched over a period of time. “As far as today situation is concerned Armed forces and local security forces have been handling the situation. Over the period of time we have to watch, how situation progresses. Today I am not in a position to make any comment on this,” he said.
Replying to a question, the Defence Minister said sanction for prosecution of armed forces personnel accused of involvement in human rights violations is decided on the merits of the case. “These cases are decided on their own merit. In case there is no merit permission can’t be granted and in case there is a basis in it and there is a human rights violation it will be viewed differently. Therefore each case is to be decided on its own merit,” he said.
Jaitley refused to review cases of those who have been arrested on antinational and subversive activities charges across the country. “No one should be prosecuted illegally and no one should be detained illegally and no one wants it. And one who has committed a crime and that is against the society and country, there can be no review on that. Whenever there is a case of any innocent, there is justice system prevailing and even if anyone comes forward, the Government reviews it,” he said.
The Defence Minister said that his Government will announce its policy decision on return of Kashmiri Pandits to Valley soon. “In the President’s address reference has been made to it, our intent has been made clear. In fact all the political groups in the Valley support the idea of return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits. And you have to wait for us for few more days to announce our policy decision on it,” he said.
The Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that his Government will provided full assistance to the State Government for the development of Jammu and Kashmir that has suffered due to militancy.
“As far as State of Jammu and Kashmir is concerned we will give whatever assistance is required for the development of the State. It is a State for which has suffered due to insurgency and therefore we will take special efforts”, said Jaitley.
The Finance Minister said that India is facing a challenging economic situation and it needs fiscal disciplining. “The situation on the economic front is challenging. We had two continuous years of less than 5 percent growth. You have a higher level of inflation. Your tax buoyancy has come down. And therefore at this time you will require to take some decisions to make sure that the economy is put back on the track. The initial amount of fiscal disciplining will enable India and Indians to enjoy the fruits of our sounder economy at a subsequent stage. For any kind of indiscretion of fiscal indiscipline at this stage will further put us in the doldrums,” he added.
Earlier, Defence Minister said he is satisfied with the security situation in the State after his two days assessment. “After the assessment, I am going back with a reasonable satisfaction”, he said.
“I am quite optimistic about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Parliamentary elections were conducted peacefully, there is a good tourist season, the Amarnath Yatra is also beginning by this month end. The assessment is that the Yatra will be conducted smoothly and peacefully,” he said.
The Defence Minister said that during his visit to the LoC he discussed infiltration of militants from across the LoC and the way troops are guarding the borders. “The militants and the infiltrators who come from across the LoC, I discussed it with the Army. I also went to the LoC and talked to Army men, how they are guarding the LoC. In those area and sector, our Army is dominating and they are strong there”, he said.
Jaitley said that army is giving appropriate response to the ceasefire violations by Pakistan. “Ceasefire violations are also taking place form the other side but our troops give appropriate response”, he said.
The Defence Minister visited a forward post in Haji Pir sector of Uri and met the troops there and discussed their preparedness for countering infiltration attempts by militants.
“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. He said: “Our soldiers strive selflessly to maintain the sanctity of the LoC and in responding to any ceasefire violation.”
After his arrival from Uri this morning, the Defence Minister and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah took stock of the prevailing security scenario in the State in a high level Special Security Review Meeting at SKICC.
The Army Commanders, Police and Security Forces Chiefs presented resume of the security situation and briefed the meeting about its various aspects.
The meeting was attended by the Deputy Chief Minister, Tara Chand, Minister of State for Home, Sajjad Ahmed Kichloo, Chief of Army Staff, General Bikram Singh, Chief Secretary, Mohammad Iqbal Khandey, Principal Secretary Home, Suresh Kumar, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, BB Vyas, Director General, J&K Police, K Rajendra, GOC-in-C Northern Command, Lt. General, DS Hooda, GOC IX Corps, Praveen Bakshi, GOC XIV, Lt. General, Rakesh Sharma, GOC, XV Corps, Lt. General Gurmit Singh, GOC XVI Corps, Lt. General, KH Singh, Additional Director General, Military (Ops) and GOC (Designate) 15 Corps, S Saha, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Shantmanu, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Shalinder Kumar, IGP CID, J&K, Dr. Srinivas, IGP Kashmir, Abdul Gani Mir, IGP Jammu, Rajesh Kumar, Joint Director IB, Srinagar, Arvind Kumar, Commissioner SB, Jammu, Abhijet Haldar, IG BSF, Kashmir, PS Sandu, IG BSF, Jammu, SS Tomar, IG CRPF (Ops), Kashmir, Nalin Prabhat, IG CRPF (Admn), Srinagar, PK  Singh, IG CRPF, Jammu, Kuldeep Dhar, DD IB, Jammu, Praveen Kumar and DIG SSB, Chanchal Shekhar.

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