India’s Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that India will take any “comment on wanting peace” by Pakistani officials “seriously”, The Times of India reported on Monday.
Sitharaman, while talking to Indian media on the sidelines of a seminar in New Delhi Monday, said that: “Any comment on wanting peace will definitely be taken seriously.”
The Indian minister was referring to Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa’s remarks made in April where he called for “comprehensive and meaningful dialogue” between both countries to look for a peaceful solution to the Kashmir dispute.
While addressing a passing out parade ceremony, Gen Bajwa had expressed Pakistan’s “complete political and moral support” for the people of Kashmir who are fighting for their “basic right of self-determination”. He added that while “such dialogue is no favour to any party” it is the only way to ensure peace across the region.
“It is our sincere belief that the route to peaceful resolution of Pak-India disputes — including the core issue of Kashmir — runs through comprehensive and meaningful dialogue,” he had said, adding: “Pakistan remains committed to such a dialogue, but only on the basis of sovereign equality, dignity and honour.”
When asked if the Indian army would stand by the government’s announcement of a ceasefire in India-held Kashmir during Ramazan, Sitharaman claimed that the defence ministry will “fully honour the policy which the Home Ministry on behalf of the government of India announced”.
The above statement come days after a skirmish along the Working Boundary that resulted in the death of at least four civilians. The Pakistan Foreign Office had said that the violations took place in Pukhlian, Cahprar, Harpal, Charwah and Shakargarh sectors.
Last week, the Indian home ministry had announced that government troops in held Kashmir had been asked to stop counter-insurgency operations during the Muslim fasting month of Ramazan so that it can be observed “in a peaceful environment”.