Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar on Thursday said that India remains committed to all steps that contribute to ensuring tranquility and peace along the border, but in veiled warning said there should be no doubt that any unprovoked firing from the Pakistani side will invite a response.
Briefing the media regarding the drone controversy and the ceasefire violations along the Line of Control with Pakistan, Jaishankar said officials of the two governments have been in contact as a consequence of the firing taking place on the LoC and the International Boundary between India and Pakistan, in the last two days.
“We remain committed to steps that contribute to ensuring tranquility and peace along the border. But there should be no doubt that any unprovoked firing from the Pakistani side will result in retaliation,” he told the media here.
“On July 15 around 8.50, Pakistani rangers resorted to firing in the Akhnoor Sector in which one BSF personnel sustained injury. The fire originated from the Pakistani rangers post.This was followed by firing by flat trajectory weapons on our post and then in a different area by mortar fire. Separately, also in Akhnoor, at about 1015 hours a mortar shell feel on a village in Bhalwal Bharth, in which an inhabitant lady was killed and three others injured,” he added.
He further said that as per the procedures, the IG of BSF in Jammu sought to make telephonic contact with Sector Commander Sialkot.
“Four times between 10.45 and 12.30 yesterday. He received no response. Upon receiving this information, our National Security Advisor (Ajit Doval) spoke to our High Commissioner Raghavan in Islamabad at 1130 hours yesterday, asking him to take this up with the Pakistani government,” he said.
The Foreign Secretary also stressed that India sought an end to the firing as well as corrective steps on their part.
“Immediately thereafter, NSA spoke to High Commissioner Abdul Basit on similar lines in New Delhi. There was no response from the Pakistani Government to our demarche, instead, intermittent firing continued in the Akhnoor Sector till 1615 hours yesterday,” he added.
He further informed that NSA again spoke to High Commissioner about the same.
“Pakistan’s High Commissioner claimed firing had been initiated by the Indian side and a drone had been brought down. The NSA inquired why conversations weren’t initiated by Pakistan if firing was started by the Indian side. The Pakistani Government has now sought to shift responsibility of the firing to the Indian side,” he added.
“The photograph of drone in question indicates that it is neither of Indian design nor of any UAV category held in the inventory of the Indian Armed forces. The drone appears to be of Chinese design and is commercially available off the shelf,” he added.