Pak Army Responsible For Increased Infiltration Attempts: Antony

Pak Army Responsible For Increased Infiltration Attempts: Antony

30 October 2013
The Daily Excelsior


New Delhi: Talking tough, India today blamed Pakistan Army for the increasing infiltration attempts accompanied by “unusual” border ceasefire violations and questioned Pakistan’s sincerity to improve ties between the two countries. Defence Minister A K Antony said the security forces have observed that the terrorists trying to infiltrate were well equipped and prepared to sustain for a longer period while carrying out their activities. “In spite of preventing the infiltrators or minimise infiltration attempts, still these attempts are going on increasing. This means this is going on with the support of elements across the border. I am sure that nothing can happen there without the knowledge and tacit or sometimes open support of Pakistan,” he told reporters here. “On Pakistan side, border is completely guarded by Pakistan Army. How can terrorists try to infiltrate into India without the knowledge and support of Pakistan? How can the terrorists embolden to increase the attempt to infiltrate without the tacit or sometimes open support of their armed forces? That is a question worrying us,” he said. Antony said there have been “unusual developments” of ceasefire violations on the International Border also this year. “Ceasefire violation is still continuing. But this year, unusual developments are taking place. So far, ceasefire violations were taking place only on LoC. Suddenly, there is a series of ceasefire violations on the International Border. That is more a matter of serious concern,” he said. Raising questions over Pakistan’s intentions to improve relations, Antony said when the borders are being guarded by the forces of the two sides, how can terrorists make attempts to infiltrate into India. “We are repeatedly telling (Pakistan) that India wants improvement in relations. If they are sincere in their attempts, how can this infiltration take place and infiltration attempts are also increasing,” he asked. The Defence Minister said though the level of violations on the International Border have come down, the armed forces are keeping a watch and are fully prepared to meet any eventuality. “I am confident that our security forces are able to meet any challenges. They are handling the situation very effectively and are on 24X7 guard there. So, they will handle it and they have the freedom. That is the standard operating procedure.. Be rest assured of the capability and commitment of the armed forces,” he said. The comments came against the backdrop of repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan which has caused casualties in Jammu and Kashmir. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif, during their meeting in New York on September 29, had agreed that the DGMOs of the two countries would meet to ensure peace on the border. However, the two countries are yet to schedule such a meeting. Antony said India has been saying that it is sincere in improving relations with Pakistan, but questioned how this can happen when infiltration is taking place. Asked to comment on the criticism of Defence Ministry’s China and Pakistan policy, Antony said there was no question of mixing politics with defence. Asked if the deals for procuring 197 choppers for the Army and the IAF and 145 ultra light howitzers for the Army could be scrapped, the Minister said the Government did not interfere in procurement procedures and will not set deadlines for their acquisition. He said in the last three years, the armed forces have been provided a number of equipment by the Government and all possible equipment would be bought for their further modernisation. Antony said Indian armed forces were rated very high in the world and major global forces from all parts of the world were eager to have cooperation with them. He said the Government will not be found wanting on the issue of developing border infrastructure. Addressing the IDSA conference on South Asia, the Defence Minister said despite sharing commonalities of history, geography and culture, “South Asia was one of the least integrated regions of the world. Its share in world economy is quite small. This often leads to misunderstandings.” Antony said India’s natural predominance is often viewed with concern by some states and “such concerns about Indian intentions are far from real and often misplaced. Over the years, India has assumed a responsibility to improve its relationship with neighbours.” He said over the years, India has assumed a responsibility to improve its relationship with neighbours. “However, its relationship with some other countries continues to be problematic.” He asserted that India was committed to further improve it ties and maintain peace and friendly relations with all its neighbours. Not ruling out incidents of face- offs between troops of India and China in future, Antony today said mechanisms under a new border pact signed between the two sides will help in intervening and quickly solving any such issue on the Line of Actual Control. “The fact that we have agreed on a certain set of procedures, mechanism, does not mean nothing will happen in the border. But with the agreement now, if something happens, then there are mechanisms to immediately intervene and find solutions,” he said. The Defence Minister was asked if the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement between India and China would help in avoiding the face-offs such as the one in Depsang valley in Ladakh in April. The BDCA was signed by India and China to avoid any possible flare-ups between the two sides in the future during Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s visit to China earlier this month. Antony said another new thing in the BDCA was to increase contacts between the armed forces of the two sides. “Another new development is that there will be more contacts between the two militaries. It will not only be at the higher level but at the field level also. The idea is to develop more trust between the two militaries,” he said. He said he was “not a prophet or an astrologer” to say whether there would be no face-off incidents between the two sides in future. Asked about an article in China about the preparedness of Chinese armed forces to get back its lost land including Arunachal Pradesh, Antony said there will be no let up in the modernisation of the armed forces and government was providing all possible support for it. Moving ahead towards scrapping the Rs 3,600 crore controversial chopper deal, Antony said AgustaWestland has “violated the contract” for supplying 12 VVIP choppers for the Air Force. “They (AgustaWestland) have violated the contract. We have taken steps to protect our interests,” he said when asked about the final show cause notice issued to the firm by the Defence Ministry. He said the Government has to move as per the law and “now, the final show cause notice has been served. We have given them 21 days to reply to it.” The Defence Ministry had issued a final show cause notice to AgustaWestland for violating the terms of the contract on October 21 and asked the Anglo Italian firm to explain why “all or any action as prescribed, including cancellation of the contract, should not be taken against them for violating the terms of the pre-integrity pact and the contract for procurement of 12 VVIP choppers.” The Attorney General has already given his opinion to the Defence Ministry that there was breach of contractual obligations and the integrity pact by the firm, they said. The Government has already frozen the contract for supply of 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF after allegations that Rs 360 crore were paid as bribe in which two top officials of he company were accused. Asked if issues between HAL and Dassault Aviation were delaying the multi-billion dollar multirole combat aircraft project, the Defence Minister said, “That is not the issue. The issue is that contractual negotiations are going on. Government cannot interfere in that process.” He said there were several layers of scrutiny, there were four-five mechanisms for its scrutiny and “how can I set a deadline for it.The process is on and how can I set a deadline.”