Islamabad/New Delhi: India on Friday squarely blamed Pakistan for the tensions along the border, saying “de-escalation is entirely in Pakistan’s hands” and also scoffed at it for trying to term India the aggressor, saying the allegations were coming from a country that had harboured Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden for over a decade.
A day after Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said the neighbouring country will have to pay a heavy price if it did not stop its “adventurism” at the border, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the other side had realised “times have changed.”
India’s external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin spoke in equally strong terms. He said that the new government has been very serious about peace moves with Pakistan, and had also taken the first step to engage with Islamabad in a peaceful manner.
Pakistan’s response “is there for all to see — from a media spectacle before exploratory talks between foreign secretaries, hostile propaganda against India at
the international level, continued terrorism against India and more recently violence against our citizens on the International Boundary,” he said.
He said India will respond appropriately but it is for Pakistan to either escalate or de-escalate. “While we will not talk out of fear we have no fear of talks,” he added.
The comments came as firing along the border showed signs of de-escalation. Akbaruddin also dismissed Pakistan’s allegation of India being the aggressor, saying that these allegations “have originated in Pakistan”.
To a question on Pakistan lodging a complaint with the UN Military Observer Group over the firing, Akbaruddin said the UN body “performs no practical function” and is a “waste of scarce resources.”
Meanwhile, in Islamabad, making a veiled reference to its nuclear capability, Pakistan on Friday sought immediate defusing of tension at the LoC saying “both countries are aware of each other’s capabilities” and war was not an option.
The Pakistani statement came after a meeting of the National Security Committee chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif which said its earnest desire for normalising bilateral relations and defusing the situation should not be taken as a sign of weakness.
Briefing the media after the meeting, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said Pakistan would not accept Indian “hegemony” on the border and was prepared to give a “befitting” reply to violation of ceasefire.