Pakistan continues to provide covert support to cross-border terrorism: Antony

April 28th, 2008 - 10:20 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Apr 28 (ANI): Union Defence Minister A K Antony on Monday said that Pakistan continues to provide covert support to perpetrators of cross-border terrorism and expressed hope for a more meaningful engagement with the newly elected Government of Pakistan.

Islamabad will take steps to curb cross-border terrorism, effectively. On our part, we have to be eternally vigilant on all fronts, Antony said while addressing the Army Commanders Conference here.

On Indo-US relations, he said we have been making steady progress and cooperation with the United States extends to various areas including security, space, counter-terrorism, energy and environment.

Referring to China, Antony said though we continue to abide by the confidence building measures mutually agreed upon between the two nations, we have to constantly upgrade our military and economic capabilities.

There is no room for complacency, he added.

Talking about Afghanistan, Antony said: We are committed to provide continuous support to enable Kabul to emerge as a self-sufficient, stable and a democratic state.

Commenting over the persisting scenario in Nepal, Antony said that the winds of political change have also been sweeping Nepal.

Describing the current phase as a defining moment in the history of Nepal, he said India is committed to help Kathmandu in every way to ensure an orderly and constitutional transition to multi-party democracy.

Referring to Bhutan, the Defence Minister said that though transition to democracy has nearly been completed in that country, we cannot afford to lower our guard as any security related development is bound to have a spillover effect on our country.

Infiltration and illegal immigration from Bangladesh are two issues that continue to be a cause of serious concern for us, said Antony, adding that the Central Government has been taking up the issues with Dhaka from time to time.

Referring to Myanmar, he said, development of various infrastructure project by other countries there is an issue that has a direct bearing on our security concerns.

Antony said Sri Lanka has been plagued by internal conflict for several years.

India and indeed the entire South Asian region stand to gain from the restoration of peace process in the island nation, he added.

Delving at length the ground situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Antony said it has shown signs of improvement.

The incidence of violence in the state has registered a significant drop. The relatively peaceful conditions have created a conducive environment for Assembly elections due to be held later this year. This has been made possible mainly due to the commendable dedication, sacrifices and commitment of the Army, he said.

The Defence Minister said the role of Army in countering Naxal violence is limited.

The Army has provided assistance to states by setting up counter terrorism institutions and by a mechanism of training the trainers. The task lies clearly in the realm of State Police Forces, Central Police Organisations and Paramilitary forces and they must develop the requisite capacity and efficiency to deal with this menace effectively. However, they must benefit from the Armys immense experience and expertise in these areas, the minister said. (ANI)

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