Jaipur, Dec 22: Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat Friday said peace talks with Pakistan can take place only when it stops supporting militants in Jammu and Kashmir.
Given its actions, it doesn’t appear that Pakistan really wants peace, the Army chief added.
He was in the Thar desert in the western sector to witness the ‘Hamesha Vijayee’ exercise conducted by the Southern Command close to the India-Pakistan border in Rajasthan.
Rawat said Pakistan should stop supporting militants.
“Only then can we say that peace talks should take place,” he told reporters in the exercise area near Barmer.
“We also want that relations should be better but given what kind of actions there are (from their side) and militancy is spreading in Jammu and Kashmir, it doesn’t appear that they really want peace,” Rawat said.
Asked about China s rising presence and influence in Pakistan through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Army chief said India is also taking its steps while keeping security aspects in mind.
The way they are taking steps, we are also taking our steps while keeping our security perspective in mind, he said.
Rawat said the Army, paramilitary forces and the Jammu and Kashmir police have been taking actions against militants in Jammu and Kashmir successfully and the action will continue.
His comments come a day after Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India would like good relations with Pakistan provided Islamabad takes action against militant groups.
“It is important for Pakistan to understand our core concern, which is terrorism. We have time and again asked them to take action against militants who are operating from their soil. This is something they (Pakistan) will have to handle if they are serious in cultivating this friendship,” Kumar said.
The assertions follow Pakistan’s Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa pledging his support for better ties.
According to media reports, Bajwa has said he will support any initiative of the civilian government to resolve issues with India through talks.