Indian army will not stop, if provoked by Pakistan, it will retaliate, says Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi: The Indian Army has almost halved its orders that are placed on State-run ordinance factories. This is to use the available budget for stocking critical ammunition and spares, after getting hints from the political leadership to prepare for a short intense war, putting aside the long-drawn plans for modernisation.

Prospects of such a war also came in an assertion by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday that the Army will not stop, if provoked by Pakistan, as it reserves the right to retaliate. Her statement makes it clear that the blame will fall on Islamabad if a war breaks out. Reiterating India’s policy resolve that terror and talks can’t go hand in hand, she told reporters that India has been honouring its 2003 agreement, but repeated skirmishes on the borders by the neighbour “would not go without responding.” She was addressing the press on the defence ministry’s achievements and perspectives.

“It is not the Ministry of Defence’s role to assess whether talks are successful or not. It is our business to guard the border and we won’t stop if we are provoked. We shall be alert that no unprovoked attack goes without us responding. It’s our duty to keep India safe.” “When it is an unprovoked attack, the Army is given the right to retaliate. We honour the ceasefire but, of course, a margin is given to us when there is an unprovoked attack,” Sitharaman said.

The Indian Army cutting down orders from the Ordnance factories for such articles as uniforms, combat dresses, shoes, etc. goes against the government’s policy to encourage “Make in India” procurements. The Army sources say they had to slash certain requirements in view of the limited budget in 2018-19, so that funds are made available for the critical purchases. In reply to a question, the defence minister quelled reports of a shortage of defence ammunition. Targeting the previous government under Dr Manmohan Singh, she said there was a shortage of funds under the UPA which was not the case anymore. The number of terror attacks in the Kashmir valley has been on the rise and civilians are bearing the brunt of it. Over the last four days, 10 attacks have taken place in the valley.

Army post attacked

An army post in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bandipora district was attacked on Tuesday evening by terrorists, who threw grenades at the post, using under barrel grenade launchers. About four to six terrorists had come from two sides of the army camp of 13 Rashtriya Rifles and Hajin police station and fired around eight UBGLs towards the army and the police, news agency ANI reported.


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