Pakistan supporting cross-border terrorism
16 April 2007
The Daily Times
New Delhi: Indias defence minister on Monday accused Pakistan of continuing to support cross-border terrorism in Indian-administered Kashmir. There is no change in Pakistans support for cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, said Defence Minister AK Antony while speaking at a five- day army commanders conference reviewing the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and northeastern states. This remained a cause of concern for India, he added. The defence minister also said that the armed forces could not afford to drop their guard and needed to maintain high operational readiness. He said for Indo-Pak talks to succeed, Islamabad would have to put an end to cross-border terrorism. Referring to Islamabad increasing its defence expenditure and receiving military assistance from various countries, Antony said Although we wish to continue peace talks with Pakistan, it is imperative for us to keep a close watch on various developments and maintain constant vigil. Earlier, inaugurating the conference, Antony said the policy of iron fist with velvet gloves was paving dividends in Jammu and Kashmir. He said the situation in Jammu and Kashmir was largely under control, with the level of violence having been brought down by effective security operations. However, he maintained that while the violence levels had been reduced, the overall threat still persisted. Antony asked the commanders to curb day-to-day expenses to ensure that more funds would be available for weapon upgrades and modernisation of the forces. An army spokesman here said that the five-day conference would also deliberate upon modernisation and the operational readiness of the Indian Army. He said a detailed discussion was also expected on Value Based Leadership, keeping in view increasing suicides and fratricides within the army. Significantly, the conference is deliberating on Asymmetric Warfare in Indian Context. The Indian army has long been planning to raise a Special Forces Command (SFC) tasked with planning and executing irregular warfare behind enemy lines. The commanders are also planning to discuss Strategy for an Integrated Approach towards Peacekeeping Operations. Talking to reporters, the defence minister said he was not in favour of direct involvement of armed forces in checking the growing extremist violence across the country. I agree Maoists pose a real threat to our internal security but I am not in favour of direct involvement of the armed forces in the situation. It is primarily the duty of the state police and the paramilitary forces to check such violence, Antony said.