Days after Pakistan violated ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman Tuesday reiterated the government’s position that talks and terrorism cannot go hand-in-hand. Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Sitharaman said India honours its 2003 agreement with the neighbouring country, but the Army reserved the right to retaliate to an unprovoked attack.
“When it is an unprovoked attack, the Army is given the right to retaliate. We honour the ceasefire but of course, a margin is given to us when there is an unprovoked attack,” Sitaraman said. “It’s our business to guard the border and we won’t stop if we’re provoked. We shall be alert that no unprovoked attack goes without us responding. It’s our duty to keep India safe.”
Sitharaman was briefing reporters on the achievements of the Modi government at the Centre. When asked about India’s ties with China following the Doklam standoff, the Defence Minister referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Wuhan as well as her meeting with Chinese officials and said, “Things are on track.”Sitharaman also quelled reports of a shortage of defence ammunition. Targeting the previous government under Manmohan Singh, she said there was a shortage of funds under UPA which was not the case anymore. She also denied allegations of a scam in the Rafael deal, calling them “baseless”.