India honours the Ramadan ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir, but reserves the right to strike back against provocations from across the border, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday. The defence minister's warning to Pakistan followed the DGMO level agreement to cease hostilities under the ceasefire pact of 2003. The minister insisted that "terror and talks cannot go hand in hand."
"When it is an unprovoked attack the Army was given the right to retaliate. We honour the ceasefire but of course, a margin was given to us when there is an unprovoked attack," Sitharaman said in New Delhi.
"The Ministry of Defence's (MoD) role isn't to assess whether it was successful or not. 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," she added.
In the backdrop of incidences of ceasefire violations along the line of control, a senior general in the Pakistani army said on Monday that there was no space for any war with India. However, they also warned that their desire for peace should not be mistaken for weakness.
"Our defence, our desire for peace, should not be mistaken for weakness," PTI quoted Major General Asif Ghafoor, the Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) as saying at a press conference.
Her comments come after a Border Security Force and Pak Rangers Sector Commander level meeting was held at on Monday to discuss peace and tranquillity at the border area after repeated terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and various incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistan at the border.
When asked about the possibility of bilateral dialogue with Pakistan, the defence minister said: "Terror and talks cannot go hand in hand."
Earlier, the Director General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of India and Pakistan spoke to each other on the issue of ceasefire violations and terrorist activities and agreed to fully implement the ceasefire understanding of 2003, to ensure that ceasefire will not be violated by both sides.
Two BSF jawans were killed and 13 civilians got injured after Pakistan violated the ceasefire in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
(With inputs from ANI)