India on Thursday categorically rejected Pakistan’s claim that it sent a ‘spy drone’ across the border into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and warned that ceasefire violations by the latter’s troops will be given a befitting reply.
India also lodged a strong protest with Pakistan over latest ceasefire violation in Akhnoor sector in which one woman was killed.
Addressing a press briefing here, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said, “India and Pakistan officials are in constant touch over recent incidents of firing along the Line of Control. It should be clear that any unprovoked firing will be met with an effective and forceful response from our side.”
Maintaining that Islamabad cannot hide behind such lame excuses, the Foreign Secretary further said that “we have sought an end to the firing and corrective steps on their (Pakistan) part.
“It’s not a matter of our choice if India and Pakistan will go for peace talks. It depends on Pakistan’s action. There should be no doubt that any unprovoked firing will be met with force.”
S Jaishankar, while reiterating that India remains committed to steps that contribute to peace on border, also warned that “we wont let our guard down.”
Categorically rejecting the Pakistan’s claim that India sent a ‘spy drone’ the Foreign Secretary said, “the picture of drone in question shows it’s not of Indian design or available in Indian armed forces’ inventory. It appears to be of Chinese design.”
Shifting his focus to recent ceasefire violations by the Pakistan troops, Foreign Secretary said, “Today at 1:35 am, there was infiltration attempt in the Jammu sector. I urged our High Commissioner in Islamabad to speak with Pakistan Foreign Secretary Abdul Basit.”
The Foreign Secretary also said that it were Pakistani troops who started the recent round of ceasefire violations on the border.
“Why conversations were not initiated by Pakistan if firing was started by the Indian side,” Jaishankar added.
“NSA Ajit Doval too inquired why conversations weren’t initiated by Pakistan if firing was started by the Indian side,” S Jaishankar said while responding to a query on ceasefire violations by the Pakistan side.
The remarks from the Foreign Secretary came shortly after the conclusion of a high-level meeting over drone row and ceasefire violations by Pakistan, which was attended by top NDA ministers.
The meeting concluded with the government reportedly finalising a strategy to counter the hostile neighbouring nation.
During the meeting, top ministers of the Narendra Modi government took stock of the situation arising out of ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan’s allegations that India sent its ‘spy drone’ across the border into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
The high-level meet, which was held at North Block, was attended by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who held a separate meeting with Director General of Border Security Force Devendra Kumar Pathak earlier, was also present.
India has already lodged a protest both in Islamabad as well as with the Pakistan High Commission in in New Delhi, but with the firing continuing along the border, the government may weigh its other options.
The current round of ceasefire violations has led to the death of a woman and left many injured, including BSF jawans.
These violations come ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to Jammu tomorrow to attend the centenary celebrations of former state Finance Minister Girdhari Lal Dogra.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has accused India of having breached its territorial integrity by allegedly sending a spy drone to conduct aerial photography along the LoC. The drone was shot down by Pak agencies.