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Entrusting order to J-K cops final aim: Antony

Defence Minister AK Antony

New Delhi, January 31
Defence Minister AK Antony today said the Centre’s long-term aim in Kashmir was to entrust the responsibility of law and order to local police and bring normalcy there. Also, he said India was not a “war mongering nation” and wanted to live in peace with its neighbours.

“As far as policy is concerned, we are very clear. Our ultimate aim is to bring normalcy in Kashmir and entrust law and order to Kashmir police itself. The Army can safely safeguard the border. That is our long-term aim,” Defence Minister AK Antony said.

Antony was replying to a question on whether the government would back out of its plan to move out troops from the Valley as there has been a rise in violence in the last two months and cross-border infiltration had increased.

The Minister said the policy of the government was not ad-hoc and decisions were taken after careful considerations, after discussion with various stakeholders like the state government and the central agencies.

“We feel that at this moment… last few months, there is an attempt from enemies across the border for attempting more infiltration. But at the same time, on the whole, the situation in Kashmir is improving,” he said.

By and large, said Antony, the law and order situation in Kashmir was now much better as compared to previous years and violence had come down. He said everybody knew that Kashmir was gradually returning to normalcy but warned that there were forces who do not like the fast improvement in the situation.

“There are forces who do not like the fast improvement. That is why they are doubling their attempt to have violence, to have more infiltration. Our security forces are meeting that effectively,” Antony said.

To a question about the build-up in the North-East and Ladakh region, he said it was not a build-up but only an effective deterrent. “We have to be always vigilant, especially when the security scenario around us is not that good. We are trying to strengthen our security wherever needed to the extent that the country is always assured that there is effective deterrent in the country. We are building up an effective deterrent, nothing else,” the Minister said.

Antony said India was not a “war mongering country” and wanted peace with its neighbours. “That is why inspite of provocations at times we are still trying to improve our relations with our neighbours. But certain things cannot move forward unless action is taken by the neighbours,” he said.

The Minister said that even though the country was not for any kind of confrontation on its own, it had to be on guard always looking at the security scenario around. “As a policy, we do not want confrontation. But at the same time we are ever ready to meet any challenges from any quarter against our national security. We have to protect every inch of our land. Unless national security is strengthened, there cannot be any peace in the country,” Antony said. — PTI




Says will not tolerate corruption in forces

New Delhi, January 31
Defence Minister AK Antony today said the Army had already taken strong action in the Sukhna land scam case and insisted that it would not tolerate even a single instance of corruption in the armed forces.

“Already, Army has taken strong action. I do not want to say anything further… We cannot tolerate even a single instance of corruption,” Antony said on the sidelines of a function to present awards to the winning tableaux of the Republic Day parade.

Replying to a question on the reasons for advising court martial proceedings against Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash, who has been indicted in the Sukhna land scam, Antony said what happened in Sukhna and in some other cases were “aberrations”.

“Look at the society as a whole, various walks of life. Compared to many other institutions, armed forces have a much better system of correcting things and punishing the guilty,” he said.

Antony said, “You should compare what is going on around. Compared to many other institutions, armed forces and army are doing much better to take action and correct aberrations in the system.” He asked to look at the positive aspect of the armed forces and its traditions, saying the sacrifices made by jawans and the officers must also be looked at. “Our jawans and officers are sacrificing their life, their blood, their health to protect every inch of our territory. We must salute them and protect their honour,” he said. — PTI



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