Antony rules out lowering guard against Pakistan

January 20th, 2009 - 4:48 pm ICT by ANI  


By Praful Kumar Singh

New Delhi, Jan 20 (ANI): Continuing its diplomatic offensive against Pakistan in the wake of the Mumbai carnage, Defence Minister A K Antony today said that India would not lower its guard against Pakistan.

Antony also acknowledged that he was aware of Pakistani troop movements across the border.

Speaking on the sidelines of an investiture ceremony held at the annual NCC Republic Day camp here, he said: There are some reports regarding troops movement across the border, but there is nothing to panic about. After 26/11 our armed forces are in state of preparedness to meet any challenge from any quarter. There is no question of lowering guards.

Antony termed media reports about the non-preparedness of the Army as absolutely baseless, saying: Our armed forces are prepared to meet any challenge, but at the moment the government is considering diplomatic efforts.

He also denied that the US is dependent on Islamabad to fight al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, and therefore, was preventing India from exercising its military options against Pakistan.

Antony said India takes its own decisions and no one can influence them.

We take decisions after carefully assessing the situation. We are a friendly country, but nothing can influence our decisions. At the moment the government is concentrating on diplomatic options, he added.

Antony also ruled out sending troops to Afghanistan, but said Indian assistance is based on humanitarian issues, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Commenting no the Lashkar-e-Taibas statement that it would shun violence if the Kashmir issue is resolved, the Defence Minister said: This (terrorism) has nothing to do with Kashmir. It is an integral part of India and we will not consider any interference from any quarters on the matter. (ANI)

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