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Ahead of UN meet, India sends tough message to Pakistan, China

Desist from provocative actions such as border transgressions: Rajnath

September 22, 2015 02:26 am | Updated 02:26 am IST - Srinagar:

With the Line of Control (LoC), International Border (IB), Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Jammu and Kashmir witnessing hot postures by Pakistan and China, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday made it clear that the neighbours should stop promoting terrorism, infiltration and desist from provocative actions such as border transgressions for better relations with India.

He also struck a conciliatory note, saying peace and prosperity in the Asian continent cannot prevail until India’s relations with Pakistan and China are harmonious.

“It has always been our endeavour to have friendly relations with neighbours. We have extended our hand of friendship to Pakistan and China,” said Mr. Rajnath Singh, while addressing Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel in Jammu’s Samba district, which has witnessed a number of militant attacks since last year.

“Pakistan should come forward with zeal. India is ready to take the lead,” he added.

The statement can bring a much-awaited thaw in the relations after the National Security Advisers’ meeting in August was called off over invitation to separatists.

Mr. Singh’s remarks also assume significance as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif are heading to the U.S. to attend the United Nations General Assembly session soon, with no proposal to meet so far.

India has no expansionist plans and is always ready to take the lead for friendly relations with neighbours, the Minister said.

“We want better relations with China and Pakistan but will not compromise on our honour and dignity,” he added.

Calling for “heart-to-heart” relationship with all neighbouring countries, Mr. Singh said, “Whether it is a question of border disputes or issues of terrorism, I feel all the issues can be resolved through talks. India is a peace-loving country.”

Ex gratia increased

On a three-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, the Union Minister enhanced the ex gratia from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh to the victims of border shelling in the State. He said a proposal for the construction of bunkers is under consideration.

Special emphasis is being laid on strengthening the ITBP to fill the gaps in border security, particularly in Jammu region, where both the IB and LoC have witnessed more than 100 ceasefire violations till date this year alone.

Mr. Singh’s visit also comes in the wake of increased fidayeen (suicide) attacks by militants in Jammu’s Samba and Kathua districts, which have left more than a dozen civilians and security personnel dead and several others injured.

Calling for stepped-up measures to “stop infiltration and transgressions from across the border,” Mr. Singh said, “India only wants to defend its borders.”

He will review the situation on the LAC bordering China in Ladakh.

Flag meeting

Meanwhile, amid continuing ceasefire violations and civilian casualties in the Pir Panchal Valley’s Poonch area, a flag meeting between border forces was held on the LoC. The forces reportedly decided to de-escalate tension.

The Indian Army, represented by Brigadier H.S. Sarin, raised a host of issues, including ceasefire violations with Brigadier Usman, representing the Pakistan side.

Northern Command spokesman Colonel S.D. Goswami said, “A brigade-level flag meeting was held at Chakan Da Bagh crossing point on the LoC in Poonch district for one hour.” Besides the ceasefire violations, the specific issues of targeting of civilian areas and sniper actions on the LoC were raised during the meeting.

The two sides decided “to ensure restraint and respect for ceasefire agreement.”

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