NAGROTA: Asserting that India and Pakistan Armies have expressed concern over the safety and security of civilians who become target of the fire from both sides, a senior Army officer today said both the sides have agreed to follow the tenets of 2003 ceasefire agreement in letter and spirit.
"Various mechanisms will be set in place for maintaining peace and tranquility (along LoC in J&K). Both sides agreed to a lot of things and agreed to further continue this process so that the LoC can remain tranquil and we (India and Pak) follow the tenets of 2003 ceasefire (agreement)", General Officer Commanding (GoC) 16 corps Lt Gen R R Nimbhorkar told reporters on the sidelines of a function today.
He was replying to a volley of questions about the outcome of yesterday's brigade commander's Flag Meeting in Poonch.
The GoC maintained that both sides expressed concern over the safety and security of the civilians who 'inadvertently' become target of firing and shelling from both sides.
"Yes, there should be concern for the people of the country. There should be concern on both the sides. Yes there was concern on both the sides (expressed by officers of Pakistan and India at yesterday's flag meeting). And this concern was the main reason that both sides went for the negotiations," Nimbhorkar said.
Army officer said that the main aim of the flag meeting was to sit down together and resolve the issues (ceasefire violations), which are happening between the two sides.
"We didn't go (to flag meeting) with the aim of conveying any strong message. Basically, it is to sort out the differences for the conceptions or misconceptions which are happening. Therefore, we had a Flag Meeting yesterday which was in a cordial manner," he said.
On the outcome of talks, he said that it was good and in the interest of both the sides.
"Our aim was basically to maintain peace and tranquility and along with this major thing was that the civilians on both the sides should not suffer. We also have casualties and they too have casualties in this firing, so these people should not suffer," he added.
"Our aim gets fulfilled if we maintain peace and tranquility," he added.
As far as modus operandi of various terror outfits are concerned, it is well known, he said, adding, "We have to make sure that peace and tranquility is given a chance and we should work towards that."
When asked whether Pakistan should be trusted on the commitments it made during yesterday's dialogue at the Flag Meeting, the GoC said, "I see no reason why they should not keep it as I said that the meeting was in a very cordial atmosphere. There was no hostility and there was very practical methodology. Issues were put up. I don't think that this will not work."
Replying to another question on whether India put forth its concern over the Pakistani side sponsoring terrorism in J&K and giving cover to the infiltrators, Lt Gen Nimbhorkar said, "See, there is varying perception on different issues. We try and avoid such issues."
"We only deal with the issues, which are at hand. The main issue yesterday was about peace and tranquility on the LoC so that all the citizens on both sides of LoC inadvertently don't suffer. So basically this was the major issue we discussed. We did not discuss any controversial issues on which two parties have different positions," he
Lt Gen said that the objective of yesterday's Flag Meeting was aimed towards making the LoC peaceful so that the agreement of 2003 (border truce) is followed.
"And on the same, we found this opportunity. We are hopeful that peace will be maintained so that the parties on both the sides follow this agreement," he said.
"As I have already told our objective is towards peace and tranquility so that LoC becomes peaceful and the agreement of 2003 is followed and on the same we found this opportunity. We are hopeful that peace will maintain so that the parties on
both the sides follow the agreement," he added.
When asked to comment on the number of militants waiting on the other side of the Line of Control to infiltrate into the Indian side, he said that no specific number can be given.
"See I cannot give from my side any number without any concrete proof. We cannot say that x or y number of militants but we are seeing that some militants tried to infiltrate in the 15 corps area of operation and they were killed. So it is evident that militants are there. However, the number of militants, the number of camps cannot be stated with precision," he said.
On the presence of foothold of terror outfit Islamic State in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, he said, "I cannot say anything with surety on this. We don't have any such information. When we get the information and it is proved that it has happened, then we will let you know. At this time neither I can approve it or disapprove it," he said.
When asked about the presence of the Chinese army in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir he said, "I am not aware of this. This is for the first time I am hearing such a question. We will have to see that what you are saying is true or not."
He further said that it is in the open domain that China-Pakistan economic corridor is progressing right from Karakoram to Gwadar post where they have committed to provide 46 billion dollars which is a huge amount of money that can be termed as investment in Pakistan and whether it is for economic or military or development purpose, it's basically on them.
On the existence of the militant training camps on the other side of the LoC he said, "See these camps exist and we time to time see that there are camps. There are various places. It is there and they have not been dismantled whether they have reactivated them or not that we will have to see. For this we need solid evidence to see which has been activated and they are in the open domain."
He said that civilian areas become target because they live just near the LoC on both the sides.
"It is evident when there is heavy amount of shelling. So along with jawans, civilians also face damages. It is not good if the civilians on both sides face damages. So our main aim was to create an atmosphere of peace so that our civilians and their civilians don't suffer," he said.
When asked what would be India's reaction if Pakistan side violates the ceasefire agreement, he said that when two sides sit on a negotiation table, then they have to trust each other.
"If we go with the intention that we don't want to trust them, so then there is no use of holding talks. So it is evident if we go for dialogue then we have to have trust on each other," he added.
The GoC said, "as long as it is there we have to maintain that trust. We have got various methods. We will work on certain things. If it is because of some misconception we have got various methodologies, the hotlines are there and if this hypothetical instance occurs then we will deal with it appropriately."
Regarding the 1965 war with Pakistan, he said that the war was a milestone in the glorious history of the Indian army.
"As you people are aware that 1965 war was a milestone for the Indian army. Why I am saying this because three years just back in 1962 wars when we had a kind of setback in that operation," he said.
"Our jawans fought very well in fact not that the Chinese withdrew unilaterally because they wanted to withdraw but at a number of places we gave them a very tough fight," the GoC said.
"So they thought it would not be possible to further advance. So after that we started organising ourselves in such a manner and in such a great hurry that we wanted to be self-sufficient, wanted to be professionally competent to face any challenge after that," he added.
He said that Pakistan thought that Indian army has got the same baggage of 1962 war, so they tried to test us in the Rann of Kutch and they thought with the help of locals of Kashmir valley of Jammu and Kashmir, they will be able to restrict the war to Jammu and Kashmir and Kutch.