Launching a veiled attack at Pakistan for the present unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said that a “small percentage” of population is holding the “majority at ransom” in the Valley.
Addressing a joint news conference with US defence secretary Ashton Carter at the Pentagon, Parrikar alleged that “forces from across the border” are trying to spread violence in the Valley. “As far as Kashmir is concerned, I think the government of India has been very proactive. A few small percentage is holding the majority to ransom,” he said.
When asked about the current situation in Kashmir, he said curfew has already been lifted. “Kashmir actually has a government which is democratically elected and the Chief Minister belongs to the Valley,” he said. Speaking about the India-US relationship, the Defence Minister said that both the countries will resolve to continue their cooperation on counter terrorism.
“India and the US are fellow democracies. However the US has showed that there can be no compromise when we are faced with terrorism. The forces that seek to undermine our progress and our ways of life requires a comprehensive, robust response,” he said. “We appreciate the support from the US in our efforts to eliminate terrorism in India’s neighbourhood. Secretary Carter and I agreed that countering terrorism is an important shared objective. The partnership between India and US is driven by our shared values,” he added.
An all-party delegation, led by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, will visit Srinagar on September 4. Expressing regret and remorse over the loss of lives in the Kashmir Valley, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Sunday said that any life lost in the state, whether of any youth or any security personnel, is India’s loss, adding that those instigating young, innocent children will have to answer to them someday.
The death toll in the valley has reached 67, as another youth succumbed to his injuries in clashes that broke out between security forces and the locals in Pulwama district on Friday. Curfew was lifted from most parts of the Valley on Monday — after 51 consecutive days of lockdown and subsequent clashes in the aftermath of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s death on July 8.