Free Press Journal

Talks welcome, but within framework of India’s statute: Jaitley


Arun Jaitley

Srinagar:  Defence Minister Arun Jaitley Sunday said the central government is ready for dialogue with anyone who wants to talk, but within the framework of the country’s constitution and its sovereignty.

Addressing a media conference here Sunday at the conclusion of his two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, Jaitley said: “We are prepared for a dialogue with anyone who is ready to talk to us within the framework of the Indian constitution and India’s sovereignty. These are two issues on which there can be no compromise.”

The defence minister said there has been no political objective to his present visit to the state.

“I came here to review the security situation and there has been no political objective to this visit.”

“After all discussions, I am quite optimistic about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. The Lok Sabha election has been held peacefully. A very good tourism season is going on here,” he noted.

“Towards the end of this month, the Shri Amarnathji Yatra will begin. Assessment is that it will be a peaceful and successful yatra. Life must go on peacefully here, and there should be overall development.”

“I visited forward areas in Uri sector of the LoC. I have reviewed the overall security at a meeting here today,” Jailey said.

“Where our soldiers are guarding the borders, there is good coordination among them. The militants or infiltrators come here from across the border, I have discussed the situation with the army. Our army has sufficient strength to stop these infiltrations. Ceasefire violations happen from across and our soldiers are well equipped to respond and protect the borders of the country.”

“There have been issues raised by the security forces and the state government, and decisions need to be taken to back up this feedback,” Jaitley said.

“I met the state governor and the chief minister and held talks with them separately.”

Answering a question about resumption of dialogue with Pakistan and confidence building measures (CBMs) between the two countries, the defence minister said: “For the situation to normalise, it is absolutely necessary that these ceasefire violations must stop.”

“Stopping the ceasefire violations would be a big CBM for the dialogue process to start.”

Answering a question about reviewing the cases of Muslims detained in some states of the country and whether there is a proposal to favourably review these cases, Jaitley said: “There should be no case against innocents and this is everybody’s desire, but those who have committed crimes against the country and the society will have to face the consequences.”

Jaitley said Jammu and Kashmir has suffered because of insurgency and the centre is prepared to give whatever financial assistance is necessary to help the state.

Army chief General Bikram Singh, GOC-in-C Northern Command Lieutenant General D.S. Hooda and GOC 15th Corps Lt. Gen. Gurmeet Singh were present during the defence minister’s media conference.

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