No Force Reduction In J&K For The Present: Antony
25 March 2007
The Hindustan Times
Car Nicobar: Ruling out any cut-back in force levels in terrorism-hit Jammu and Kashmir at the present juncture, Defence Minister AK Antony on Sunday said any troop reduction would depend on threat levels coming down and security objectives and concerns being met. 'I dream of returning the soldiers back to barracks. But for this, we have to be convinced that threat levels are down. At such an appropriate time, we can consider pulling back troops. 'Threat is still there. Terrorist camps are still being run across the Line of Control,' he told reporters after a security review of the country's island territories, in the face of increasing threats of terrorists strikes in the high seas. The Defence Minister's remarks came in the wake of recent threats by Congress' coalition partner PDP in Jammu and Kashmir threatening to pull out from the ruling alliance, if its demand for troop pullout from the state was not met. Referring to such emerging situations, Antony, on a two- day visit here, said though infiltration levels from across the LoC had stabilised, terrorists were now looking at infiltration from sea lanes and from routes in Bangladesh and Nepal to sneak into India.