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“When it is an unprovoked attack the Army was given the right to retaliate. We honour the ceasefire but of course, a margin was given to us when there is an unprovoked attack,” Sitharaman told mediapersons at a press conference.
Last week, the Director General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of India and Pakistan had agreed to implement the ceasefire pact of 2003 in “letter and spirit” to stop cross border firings in Jammu and Kashmir. Prior to that, the Centre had asked security forces to not launch operations in the Valley during the holy month of Ramzan. At the same time, home minister Rajnath Singh had clarified that security forces would act if there were terror attacks during this period.
Echoing the sentiment, Sitharaman said today that while ceasefire at the border is very important, it is equally important to respond to any terror attacks on the country.
“It’s our business to guard the border and we won’t stop if we’re provoked. We shall be alert that no unprovoked attack goes without us responding. It’s our duty to keep India safe,” she said.
When asked about the possibility of bilateral dialogue with Pakistan, the defence minister reiterated India’s unequivocal stance on the matter. “Terror and talks cannot go hand in hand,” she asserted.
Two BSF jawans were killed and 13 civilians were injured in Pakistani firing near Jammu on Sunday.
The latest deaths due to firing, days after the DGMO level talks, took the casualty figure during ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the IB and the Line of Control (LoC) in the state to 46. The dead includes 20 security personnel.
Last month, thousands of people residing along the IB in Jammu, Kathua and Samba districts had to flee their homes following intense shelling from the Pakistani side.
This had left 12 people, including two BSF jawans and an infant, dead and scores of others injured.
There were 1,252 ceasefire violations by Pakistan since January this year to May 31.