‘Does Pakistan have control over its forces? With the situation there, I don’t see an immediate stop to such incidents’


In this Idea Exchange, Jitendra Singh, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Youth Affairs and Sports and MoS, Defence, speaks about the clash at the border, the relevance of the Sports Bill and the power of sports federations. The session was moderated by Senior Assistant Editor D K Singh

Pranab Dhal Samanta: The ceasefire on the LOC has been so far the one confidence building measure that has worked between India and Pakistan. How serious is this current shooting and killing incident and the series of less reported incidents?

Jitendra Singh: There have been a lot of incidents which don't get reported. Or are not highlighted. The government is taking them up with Pakistan. But the more important question is: does Pakistan have control over its forces, does the Pakistan government control those other organisations which function there? Who is in control, one really doesn't know. Such incidents shouldn't happen. But we need to work towards things like the demarcation of borders, not only on the Pakistan side but also on the Bangladesh side, in Sri Lanka. Otherwise, these incidents will continue. The border fencing needs to be strengthened. Look at the Rann of Kutch, Rajasthan, or Punjab borders with Pakistan. You have fencing so you have no problems there. You may need to use electronic surveillance and other equipment. It is very important to use technology to detect such intrusions. Parts of Pakistan are unstable in certain ways. With that political situation, I don't see an immediate stop to such incidents.

Maneesh Chhibber: But how long can we keep on taking the line that Pakistan is unstable? Questions will be asked about cricket diplomacy and that Pakistan isn't too keen on taking the peace moves forward.

Jitendra Singh: A lot of matters have been raised and brought to the notice of the Pakistan government. We should be tough. We have to keep hundreds of thousands of soldiers in those areas throughout the year. If tension reduces, we can pull them out of there. I was shocked by this incident and by many other incidents which have not come to light.

... contd.

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