Welcome ‘Calm’ On LoC, Wish For Good Relations With Pak: Parrikar

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Bengaluru: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday welcomed the “calm” on the Line of Control (LoC) and said India wants to have friendly relationship with Pakistan.

He, however, added that this does not mean India will not be prepared for any eventuality.Responding to a question on reports of ceasefire violations declining since Qamar Bajwa took charge of Pakistan army last November, the Defence Minister said he appreciates that the new Pakistani General has managed to make his forces understand their neighbour’s concerns.

The LoC has often witnessed intense shelling from both the sides. “We wish to have good relationship with Pakistan and China. There should be no reason why we should be fighting and consider them with doubt. As far as I am concerned, I don’t consider any action as doubt. If he has kept calm, then I welcome it.

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“But that doesn’t mean I will not be prepared. My preparedness is an independent exercise, which is not offensive. It is for my defence,” the minister said. Responding to another question on reports of China deploying aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons along the Indian border, Parrikar said, “If security interests of India are in danger, we will take adequate steps to protect ourselves.”

Notably, India and Pakistan had agreed to a ceasefire agreement in 2003 which virtually became redundant with a whopping over 300 incidents of firing and shelling along LoC and International Border in J&K by Pakistani troops till January 1 since the surgical strike on terrorist launch pads in PoK on September 28-29, 2016.

These firing and shelling by Pakistan troops had resulted in death of 27 people, including 14 security personnel.