NEW DELHI: As the situation at the Indo-Pak border continues to be tense, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday warned Pakistan that if it persists with the shelling and f i ring , “our forces will make the cost of this adventurism unaffordable”.
Making his first statement on the series of ceasefire violations by Pakistan that have killed and injured many civilians, Jaitley said, “Our Armed Forces, particularly the Army and the BSF, have only one option. That is to respond adequately (to Pakistan’s firing) and defend our territory and our people. In these attacks, Pakistan has clearly been the aggressor.
But it must realise that our deterrence will be credible. If Pakistan persists with this adventurism, our forces will make the cost of this adventurism unaffordable”.
Since Wednesday night, Pakistani troops have targeted 65 border outposts of the BSF, and several civilian hamlets along the International Border. BSF Inspector General Rakesh Sharma said at least eight civilians and three BSF jawans were injured in the heavy shelling by Pakistan in Pargwal, Kanachak, Arnia and Samba sector.
Reacting to his counterpart’s statement, Pakistan Defence Minister Khwaja Asif said his country’s troops are fully capable of responding “befittingly”. “We don’t want to convert border tensions between the two nuclear neighbours into a confrontation…
India must demonstrate caution and behave responsibly,” Asif said in Islamabad. His reference to the nuclear capability
of the two countries appears directed at the international community, which is usually nervous about any flare-up at the border.
While Pakistan has tried to escalate the matter diplomatically, India has preferred to let the security forces respond to the provocation.
On Monday, Islamabad summoned India’s Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh. After a detailed report from the BSF on the ground situation, New Delhi too summoned Pakistan’s
Deputy High Commissioner Mansoor Khan on Tuesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, lauded the Armed Forces. “Today,
when bullets are being fired on the border, it is the enemy that is screaming. Our jawans have responded to the aggression with courage.
The enemy has realised that times have changed and their old habits will not be tolerated,” he said at an election rally in Baramati, turf of NCP chief Sharad Pawar.