Any word of peace from Pak will be taken seriously: India
New Delhi, May 21: Any comment from Islamabad calling for peace between the two countries will be taken seriously by India, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said here on Monday in the backdrop of the Pakistan Army chief favouring talks to resolve lingering disputes. The minister also said the armed forces will “fully honour” the government’s decision not to launch any operations in Jammu and Kashmir during the holy month of Ramadan. “Any comment on wanting peace will definitely be taken seriously,” Sitharaman told reporters on the sidelines of an event when asked about Pakistan Army’s recent indication of supporting peaceful resolution of disputes between the two countries through talks. Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had said last month that a peaceful resolution of disputes, including Kashmir, would be possible through talks between the two countries. His comments came amid the impression, persisting for decades, that the Pakistan Army was not supportive of talks with India. Asked about the recent incidents of border skirmishes and whether India would stick to its decision to not launch any operation in Jammu and Kashmir during Ramadan, Sitharaman said the armed forces will abide by what was announced by the Centre. “We shall fully honour the policy which the Home Ministry on behalf of the government of India announced. The policy has clearly laid out how it is going to pan out and we shall abide by everything that was announced,” Sitharaman said on the sidelines of a seminar on artificial intelligence. Speaking at the seminar, she underlined the need for incorporating AI applications in the Army, Navy and the Air Force. She said AI can also be utilised in checking chemical, biological and nuclear weapons as well as keeping a vigil on outer space. The armies of India and Pakistan have engaged into firing and shelling along the International Border (IB) in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir Sunday night. In a major decision, the Home Ministry announced last week Wednesday that government forces will not launch any operations in Jammu and Kashmir during Ramadan but reserve the right to retaliate if attacked. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and opposition National Conference leader Omar Abdullah welcomed the Centre’s decision. The first NDA government, headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had taken a similar initiative in 2000 by announcing a unilateral suspension of operations for Jammu and Kashmir during Ramadan that year. It continued for five months. Almost all militant groups operating in the Valley in 2000 had rejected the government offer.