Terrorist Threat Still High In J&K Says Antony
25 June 2009
The Indian Express
: India on Thursday said infiltration from Pakistan has declined in the recent past, but the threat from terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir is 'real' and there is no question of lowering the guard. 'Of late, there has been a decline in infiltration in the borders but we cannot say it is an improvement,' Defence Minister A K Antony told reporters after addressing the Unified Commanders' Conference here. He made it clear that 'there is no question of lowering our guard, especially in Jammu and Kashmir, as even now these terrorist outfits are working there. It is a real threat.' Antony said the relations between India and Pakistan can 'move forward' only if strong action is taken by Islamabad against anti-India outfits operating from across the border. 'We are emphasising and trying to convince Pakistan that they have to take strong actions against the anti-India groups operating from there. Only then the two countries can move forward and we can help in improving relations,' he said. He termed the security situation in Pakistan as a 'matter of great concern' for India. On India's plans to raise two mountain divisions in Arunachal Pradesh, he said, 'India is not against any country. We want to maintain friendly and cordial relations with all our neighbours but at the same time it is our duty to increase our capabilities.' About his proposed meeting with US National Security Advisor (NSA) James Jones tomorrow, Antony said the security situation in the region, especially Afghanistan, is likely to figure among other issues in the discussions. 'We are going to discuss the security scenario around us. While discussing this, we cannot avoid Afghanistan. Taliban is a threat to world peace and threat to our region and a threat to India also,' he said. On the progress made on the issue of a Unified Command for the armed forces, the Defence Minister said that after initial resistance, the three services have realised the need to work together. 'There has been considerable progress in the last eight years. Initially there was resistance from three services but now they have realised the necessity of jointness because in the modern times just one service cannot protect the security of the nation and meet challenges,' he said. 'That realization is there. So, things are moving very fast and this conference is a turning point,' he said. When asked if the controversy on the issue of price of Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov could have any negative impact on Indo-Russian defence relations, the Minister said, 'Discussions are going on for Admiral Gorshkov. As far as our defence relations with Russia are concerned, they are very cordial. There is no doubt about that.'