SRI NAGAR: On a day the Army busted a militant hideout in Ramban and seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition, Army chief General Bipin Rawat sent a clear-cut message to Pakistan and terrorists that India was willing to extend the ongoing Ramzan ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir for the benefit of the people of Kashmir.
Rawat, however, warned that any action by terrorists would trigger a rethink immediately.
Rawat also said Pakistan should stop sending terrorists into Kashmir if it was interested in peace. The Centre had announced a unilateral ceasefire on May 16 during Ramzan, but security forces reserve the right to retaliate if attacked or if essential to protect innocent people.
“The suspension of operations has been done to make the people believe and see how the atmosphere is when there is peace. The way an atmosphere of peace and calm is here right now, in my opinion, the people here are very happy with that,” he said.
Gen Rawat said the Army will think about continuing the unilateral ceasefire if the peaceful situation continues in the Kashmir Valley. “If this atmosphere of peace continues, then I assure you that we will think about continuing with NICO (Non-Initiation of Combat Operations).
But if there is some action by terrorists, then we will have to rethink on this ceasefire or suspension of operations or NICO.” “If Pakistan really wants peace, then we will want them to take the first step by stopping infiltration of terrorists into our side. The ceasefire violation mostly takes place to aid infiltration,” General Rawat said.
The Army chief said India wants peace along the borders but Pakistan was continuously violating the ceasefire, which caused loss of life and property. For peace, Gen Rawat said, it was imperative that cross-border terrorism comes to an end.
“It is imperative to stop terrorism from across (the LoC), the camps which are there where training is given to them, from where the ammunition is infiltrated into J&K and India, that should stop. If that happens, then I can assure you that peace will prevail on the borders.”