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Posted at: May 26, 2018, 12:11 AM; last updated: May 26, 2018, 12:11 AM (IST)

Army Chief hints at extending truce

Says India wants peace, but Pakistan must take initiative to stop infiltration
Army Chief hints at extending truce
General Bipin Rawat takes a round of Army Goodwill Public School in Pahalgam on Friday. PTI

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, May 25

Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat on Friday hinted at extending the unilateral ceasefire in the Kashmir valley.

“We have suspended the operation which we call NICO (non-initiation of combat operations) so that the ‘awaam’ (people) realises how it feels when peace is in the air. In the current atmosphere of peace and tranquillity, people are happy and if such atmosphere of peace continues, I can say that we can consider extending NICO,” General Rawat told reporters on the sidelines of a function in Pahalgam.

He, however, asserted that if militant activities continued, they will have to rethink on the ceasefire. “If terrorists carry out their actions then we may have to rethink on the ceasefire or suspension of NICO,” he said.

The Central government had announced cessation of anti-militancy operations across Kashmir during the holy month of Ramzan that began on May 17. While there have been some militant-initiated actions during the past nine days, the situation has been relatively calm, especially in south Kashmir.

General Rawat, who arrived on a two-day visit to the state on Thursday, reviewed the security situation in the strife-torn Valley on Thursday amid the ongoing cessation of anti-militancy operations by the forces.

On the ceasefire violations along the border, the Army Chief said Pakistan must take the initiative to stop infiltration of terrorists into India.

“As you know Pakistan is continuing violating the ceasefire and when there is loss of life and damage to property of the people, we have to respond because we can’t remain silent. When they violate the ceasefire, we will respond,” the Army Chief said. “If Pakistan wants peace and tranquillity, we would like that they should take the initiative. The initiative should be such that the terrorists who infiltrate to vitiate the atmosphere should be stopped. The ceasefire violation takes places to facilitate infiltration.”

He said India wanted that peace should be maintained on the borders. “But for that it is necessary that training camps should be closed and weapon smuggling should be stopped. If that happens, peace will return to the border and ceasefire will be maintained,” General Rawat said.

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