Violence level down, situation improving in J&K: Antony

Violence level down, situation improving in J&K: Antony

20 May 2011
The Daily Excelsior


New Delhi: India today said it views with 'serious concern' the growing defence ties between China and Pakistan and that it will have to enhance its own capabilities to meet the challenge. 'It is a matter of serious concern for us. The main thing is, we have to increase our capability, that is the only answer,' Defence Minister A K Antony told reporters here when asked to comment on the growing defence ties between China and Pakistan. The comments come in the backdrop of reports that China would immediately be providing Pakistan with 50 new JF-17 Thunder multi-role jets under a co-production agreement. Antony, who was speaking after addressing the Unified Commanderís conference, also observed that the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan would have a fallout in the neighbourhood and 'it can affect India also'. He said the safe havens for terrorists in Pakistan is 'the main concerns for us' and Islamabad should 'disband and destroy' all the terror outfits if it 'sincerely' wants to improve relations with India. When referred to statements by Army chief Gen V K Singh and Air chief P V Naik that India has capability of launching a surgical strike like the US carried out in Abbottabad, Antony refused to comment, saying 'the Prime Minister has expressed his view. I donít have anything to say.' The Prime Minister has made it clear that India would not undertake such a strike. On the situation on the Line of Control (LoC), the Defence Minister said, 'Compared to past, violence level has come down but infiltration attempts were noticed on few occasions. Ceasefire violations are there. But by and large situation has improved.' With regard to the status of C-17 heavy-lift aircraft deal with the United States, Antony said, 'The matter is before the CCS and no deadline can be set to finalise it.' Terming as a 'watershed' event the killing of Osama bin Laden by the US in Pakistan, Antony said it will have a 'ripple effect' in the Indiaís 'strategic neighbourhood' and asked the Armed Forces to be prepared for any eventuality. He observed that China continued to be the strategic partner of Pakistan despite the latterís position being 'internationally stamped' as core of terrorist activities in the region. Antony told the Unified Commanders conference that the security situation in Pakistan continues to be a cause for concern. He asked the top brass of the Armed Forces to continuously assess the security situation in 'our strategic neighbourhood' in the aftermath of the elimination of Bin Laden and 'remain prepared for any eventuality'. The US operation in Pakistan was 'a watershed in the global war on terror', Antony said adding 'the ripples of this event will have wide ranging impact on our strategic neighbourhood.' He said the fact that Bin Laden was found in Abbottabad, deep inside Pakistan, has 'internationally stamped Pakistanís position as the core of terrorist activities in the region'. Maintaining that India always desires friendly relations with all its neighbours, the Defence Minister said Pakistan must take concrete action to dismantle terrorist infrastructure on its soil if any real progress was to be made in improving bilateral relations. He said he was not unduly concerned over Chinaís moves to modernize and upgrade its military capability but 'We must on our part, keep up the ongoing process of upgrading our military structure'. He expressed the hope that progress will be made in discussion with China on border dispute. On the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Antony said it has shown improvement over the past few months. The violence level has declined and the political processes have come to the forefront due, in a large measure, to the sustained efforts of the security forces, he said. However, the Armed Forces need to keep up the vigil to ensure that the levels of violence were kept to the minimum. 'This calls for a lot of restraint and upholding the human rights of the local people, without compromising all our preparedness to meet any evil designs,' he said adding that the summer months will be a crucial test of the response mechanism. On the issue of shortage of officers, he said an additional squadron was being raised which will have a capacity of 120 cadets. The total authorised capacity of National Defence Academy would be enhanced from 1800 to 1920 cadets, he said. (PTI)


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