In a distinct souring of India-Pakistan ties, the border troops of the two countries chose not to share the traditional Eid sweets as India’s Defence Minister Arun Jaitley warned Pakistan that the Armed Forces and the paramilitary forces of India are fully ready to deal with any threat.
Nine civilians were killed and at least 25 wounded on October 6 in heavy fighting along the disputed border between India and Pakistan in the Kashmir region. In indiscriminate firing near the village of Arnia, Pakistani forces killed five and wounded at least two dozen civilians. Indian officials pointed out that this is the 11th ceasefire violation by Pakistan in the month of October alone.
Reacting to unrelenting ceasefire violations, Mr Jaitley accused Pakistan of trying to create tension in both the International Border and Line of Control (LoC). “This is resulting in a series of ceasefire violations as a result of which innocent civilians have lost their lives. Pakistan must realise that the kind of environment it is generating between the two countries is certainly not going to help in normalising relations. The onus of creating a positive environment is on Pakistan which is utterly failing to do so.” “Let everybody be assured that our armed forces and para-military forces are fully ready and they are responding to each of these provocations from Pakistan,” Mr Jaitley said.
The repeated cross-border firing and killings soured the mood, with the troops of the two countries giving a skip to the tradition of exchanging sweets on the festival of Eid at the border in Wagah.
The relations between India and Pakistan started off on a hopeful note after India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif for his swearing-in ceremony in New Delhi in May. However, the momentum generated by the initiative has tapered off after New Delhi unilaterally cancelled the foreign secretary-level talks to register protest against the Pakistan’s envoy’s meeting with separatist Kashmiri leaders in August.
The chill in bilateral ties was reflected in the calculated decision by Mr Modi not to meet Mr Sharif on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York last month. In his UNGA speech, Mr Modi made it clear that he was willing to hold talks with Pakistan, but only on the condition that the talks were held without the shadow of terror.
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