New Delhi/Baramati/Mumbai: Amid renewed shelling by Pakistan along the international border in Jammu and Kashmir, India Thursday warned that Pakistan would get a befitting reply if it persists with its “adventurism”.
Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley used strong language to warn Pakistan over the border firing that has left at least eight civilians killed and several others injured in Jammu and Kashmir.
A day after the prime minister said that “everything will be fine soon”, he said: “Our soldiers will give them a reply, by pressing the trigger…The day will not come when I have to give a reply,” referring to opposition parties’ clamour about what he was doing about the border disturbances. He was addressing an election rally in Ghatkopar in north-east Mumbai late Thursday.
In New Delhi, Jaitley warned Pakistan that it will find its firing and shelling along the border “unaffordable”.
Terming Pakistan as the aggressor, he said: “If Pakistan persists with this adventurism, our forces will make the cost of this adventurism unaffordable.”
Modi, earlier addressing a rally in Pune’s Baramati, said that “times have changed”, referring to the earlier United Progressive Alliance (UPA) rule, and that Indian soldiers have given a demonstration of their capability and their bravery.
The prime minister’s comments came as Pakistan Rangers began firing with mortars and automatic weapons in the R.S. Pura sector of Jammu and Hirnagar sector of Kathua in the evening. The Pakistan firing started at 7 p.m. and was still continuing till reports last came in.
The Border Security Force (BSF) was “retaliating effectively”, an official said there.
So far, eight people have died in the ceasefire violations by Pakistan on the Line of Control (LoC) and the IB in Jammu district.
Jaitley charged Pakistan with a series of “unprovoked” violations of the 2003 ceasefire on the border in the last few days.
“These have mostly been on the international border and some have been at the Line of Control (LoC) also,” he pointed out.
Jaitley said that India has never been an aggressor but “at the same time it has a paramount duty to defend its people and its territory.” The defence minister said that Pakistan must realize that India’s deterrence will be credible.
Modi, who has been facing criticism from the Congress on not speaking up on the ceasefire violations, said during times of tension on the border, the statements of politicians are immaterial. For it is a time when “the bullets of soldiers fly and the screams of the enemy is audible.. I congratulate the soldiers that they have given a demonstration of their capability.”
“Now old habits are of no use, the soldiers have given an introduction of their bravery, and they (enemy) have come to realize that the times have changed; and old times and habits have changed. Our brave soldiers have given the correct reply, and these matters should not be politicized,” he said.
In Islamabad, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif asked India to act responsibly along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.
Asif said Pakistan was fully capable of giving a befitting reply to Indian aggression.
“We don’t want to convert border tension between two nuclear neighbours into confrontation,” he added.
Pakistan has claimed that two people were killed in Sialkot Thursday in latest firing by Indian troops, raising the number of deaths in the past few days to 13 and of the injured to 43, said a report in The Nation daily.