February 2004 News

Infiltration Dropped: Fernandes

11 February 2004
The Dawn

New Delhi: India said on Wednesday that infiltration has come down by a 'considerable extent'. Defence Minister George Fernandes in an interview with Press Trust of India (PTI) , spoke on the situation along the LoC following the November ceasefire and expressed optimism about further improvement of relations with Pakistan. Mr Fernandes said: 'There is solid information that Pakistan has taken steps to put down terrorism. But there is also evidence that there are elements who have nothing to do with the state and who are always planning strategies to continue their terrorist activities to derail the present movement towards normalcy.' Asked as who they were, he claimed they were 'autonomous agencies' and there was no evidence of their being funded by Pakistani authorities. 'From the day of the ceasefire there had not been one bullet fired by either side and the border is as peaceful and silent as it should normally be. Infiltration has also declined to a considerable extent,' he noted. One of the reasons, Mr Fernandes said, was strengthening of the Line of Control by India as well as fixing sensors to the extent the forces could reach. There were some areas which were yet to be covered, but major areas of infiltration had been taken care of. On the prospects of forward movement in the official-level talks in Islamabad next week, he said: 'I believe they would take their own time. The problem that has been bothering both the countries for so many decades would need substantial time to resolve.


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