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All terror groups still active in Pak: Antony 

Kochi, January 9
Voicing concern over reports that a large number of militants from PoK are waiting to cross the LoC into Kashmir, Defence Minister A K Antony today said almost all terrorist groups are "still active" in Pakistan which has not cracked down on them, despite repeated requests from India.

"This is a matter of concern because in spite of repeated requests from the Indian Government, almost all terrorist outfits operating from across the border are still active and the Government of Pakistan is not taking much steps", he told reporters at the Indian Coast Guard headquarters here.

He said the Kashmir situation was a "matter of concern", though the scenario has "not worsened" compared to last year.

On reports that over 700 terrorists were waiting across the border in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) to sneak into J&K, he said India has taken all precautions to deal with the situation.

Hitting out at Pakistan for its sharp reaction on India's military doctrine, he said, "I don't know why there is this over-reaction. India is not a war-mongering country.

"In spite of our differences with some of the neighbouring countries, we are trying to improve our relations with them. We have no extra-territorial ambition but our concern is to protect the country's territorial integrity."

Islamabad has described as "absurd" and "irresponsible" the Indian Army's new doctrine which includes scenarios such as a two-front simultaneous war with both China and Pakistan.

Antony said the Navy, Army and Air Force were being strengthened to enhance security.

The process of acquiring 20 fast patrol vessels, 41 interceptor boats, 12 coastal surveillance aircraft and 7 offshore patrol vehicles is underway, he said.

The government had recently cleared starting of four air enclaves for the Coast Guard at Kochi, New Mangalore, Goa and Visakhapatnam, he said.

Joint operation centres are functional at Mumbai, Kochi, Port Blair and Visakhapatnam, with sharing of intelligence, he said, adding that a regional headquarter has been set up in Gujarat to monitor the coast.

Antony said the procedure to install a chain of 46 Static Radars across nine coastal stations was nearing completion.

Pointing out that coastal security has become all the more important after the 26/11 attack at Mumbai, he said “within a few years, you will see a new Indian Coast Guard”.

To a query, he said 20 per cent additional recruitment would be made in the Coast Guard.

Asked whether the Centre was considering appointing a Maritime Security Advisor, Antony said a decision would be taken “after considering a given situation.”

The Cabinet Committee on Security has sanctioned all new acquisitions for the Coast Guard. “At the moment, Cabinet Committee on Security thought it better to continue with the present arrangement,” he said.

To a query on steps taken to strengthen maritime force, Antony said after 26/11, “everybody realised coastal security is more important and state governments are taking steps.” Coast Guard and Navy were getting full support from coastal states and were working very closely, he said.

As per law, each organisation is given a certain mandate, according to which they work.

“There is a clear cut division of responsibility and now there is perfect coordination among all the wings,” he said.

He said coastal security was more strengthened now compared to the past. Local fishermen were becoming aware and acting as an unofficial extended wing of the Coast Guard and Navy, Antony said. — PTI 



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