Lashing out at Pakistan, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the Indian Army has limited Pakistan's mischief to just the border. Singh also lauded the security forces and said no amount of praise will do justice to their bravery.
"Now Indian Army has restricted Pakistani mischief to the border. No praise is enough for the actions taken by the Army, BSF and other security forces in containing (Pakistan sponsored terrorist activities)," he said while replying during the Question Hour.
Responding to the Opposition’s allegations that the government was adopting a “lethargic” attitude while dealing with external threats and ceasefire violations, Singh said, “There is no question of lethargy. I want to make it clear that our Army has taken effective steps. They have done earlier also and I am not saying the Army is taking action after our government came to power."
The minister also said it would not be appropriate to go into details about the steps being taken and weapons used to deal with ceasefire violations. "But I would like to say this much that Pakistan violates ceasefire to infiltrate terrorists into Indian borders and also to bring them back. They keep trying this," Singh said.
"You should have faith that our Army is taking effective steps at borders and responding to ceasefire violations," he said, and added only Pakistan knows about the actions being taken against them by Indian security forces.
The minister said ceasefire violations rise when just when a terrorist strike is planned on Indian soil.
In a written reply, Singh informed that there were 5,133 instances of ceasefire violation (CFVs) including cross border firing (CBF) during 2020 and 299 in 2021 (till January 28, 2021). There were a total of 46 fatal casualties in the year 2020.
"This year 1 fatal casualty of Army personnel has been reported till 01 February, 2021," he said.
He also informed that there were 5,133 instances of ceasefire violation (CFVs) including cross border firing (CBF) during 2020 and 299 in 2021 (till January 28, 2021).
The Defence Minister said appropriate retaliation to the ceasefire violations, as required, has been carried out by the security forces.
In addition, all violations of ceasefire are taken up with Pakistan authorities at the appropriate level through the established mechanism of hotlines, flag meeting as well as weekly talks between the Director Generals of Military Operations of the two countries, he said.
BSF, too, holds talks at various levels with its counterpart viz. Pakistan Rangers.
"Diplomatically, India has repeatedly emphasised at the highest level, the need for Pakistan to uphold the sanctity of the Line of Control (LC) and the International Border as its obligations emanating from the understanding in vogue," the minister said in the written reply.
Singh also announced that India will receive six additional Rafale jets by March, 2021 and the rest will reach the country by April next year. At the moment India has 11 Rafale jets.
In 2016, India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36-Rafale Jet aircrafts at a cost Rs 59,000 crore.
"By this March 17 Rafale will be on our land. I also inform that all Rafale will be reach India by April, 2022," the minister said while replying a question in the Rajya Sabha.
Earlier, the minister had also revealed that the induction ceremony of the first five Rafale aircraft at Ambala Air Force base cost the government exchequer Rs 41 Lakh. Of the entire sum, Rs 9.18 lakh was spent on GST.
The first five Rafale aircraft of IAF were formally inducted into the Indian Air Force on September 10, 2020. The arrangements for this event were made mostly through local resources of IAF.
To another supplementary query whether the government will privatise few aspects of defence in the coming days, the minister said, "We are giving special focus on indigenisation".
(With PTI inputs)