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  India   All India  22 May 2018  We take peace overtures by Pak seriously, says Nirmala Sitharaman

We take peace overtures by Pak seriously, says Nirmala Sitharaman

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : May 22, 2018, 4:20 am IST
Updated : May 22, 2018, 4:20 am IST

Gen. Bajwa’s comments created a flutter due to a perception that the Pakistan Army was not supportive of talks with India.

Union defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman (Photo: PTI)
 Union defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: Anything that Pakistan says on peace with India will be accorded serious consideration, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman said here on Monday in the backdrop of the Pakistan Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa’s statement favouring talks for peace.

“Any comment on wanting peace will definitely be taken seriously,” Ms Sitharaman told reporters on the sidelines of an event on artificial intelligence (AI).

Gen. Bajwa’s comments created a flutter due to a perception that the Pakistan Army was not supportive of talks with India.

On the government’s decision not to launch any operations in Jammu and Kashmir during the holy month of Ramzan, the defence minister said the armed forces will “fully honour” the decision.

“We shall fully honour the policy which the home ministry on behalf of the government of India announced. The policy has clearly laid out how it is going to pan out and we shall abide by everything that was announced,” she said.

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and Opposition National Conference leader Omar Abdullah welcomed the Centre’s decision.

The first NDA government, headed by Atal Behari Vajpayee, had taken a similar initiative in 2000 by announcing a unilateral suspension of anti-militancy operations in J&K during Ramzan. However, the unilateral suspension of operations managed to last   for five months despite almost all militant groups rejecting the government offer.

Underlining the need for incorporating AI applications in the Army, Navy and the Air Force, Ms Sitharaman said AI can also be utilised in checking chemical, biological and nuclear weapons as well as keeping a vigil on outer space.

The government has set up a 17-member task force on AI to prepare a road map for development of both defensive and offensive warfare capabilities.

The AI task force has already met twice — on February 10 and on April 28 — and has been told by the government to submit its first report within three months.

Tags: nirmala sitharaman, qamar javed bajwa, mehbooba mufti