Updated: March 12, 2014 4:47:00 pm
Taking on the Pakistani military establishment for the spate of violent incidents on the border in Jammu and Kashmir in recent weeks,Defence Minister A K Antony on Wednesday said that infiltration has been increasing with the tacit support of the Pakistani Army and better-equipped terrorists are attempting to cross over.
The comments were Antony’s first on the trouble along the India-Pakistan frontier,which includes an unprecedented exchange of fire between troops of the two countries since the 2003 ceasefire.
Antony said that while ceasefire violations in the past were concentrated on the Line of Control,the recent prolonged firing on the international border in the Jammu area is a matter of more serious concern.
Instead of preventing infiltration or trying to minimise infiltration attempts,attempts are increasing. That means,these are going on with the support of elements across the border. But I am sure nothing has happened without the support and knowledge and tacit support of Pakistani Army, Antony said,speaking on the sidelines of an event at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses.
Stressing the role of the Pakistani army in the incidents,just as Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh had done,Antony said that there is open support in Pakistan for the infiltration attempts.
On the Pakistani side,the border is completely guarded by the Pakistani Army. How can terrorists try to infiltrate into India without knowledge and support of Pakistan? How can the terrorists embolden to increase the attempt to infiltrate without the tacit or sometimes open support of their armed forces? That is a question that is worrying us, Antony said.
The defence minister also said that the recent spate of infiltrations had been carried out by militants who were not only better equipped than in the past but are also geared to sustain themselves for longer periods to carry out subversive activities in India.
Ceasefire violations are still continuing. But this year,unusual developments have taking place. So far,ceasefire violations were taking place only on the LoC. Suddenly,there is a series of ceasefire violations on the international border. That is more a matter of serious concern, he said.
The minster also linked the violations on the border with bilateral relations,raising questions on Pakistan’s intention. We are repeatedly telling that India wants improvement in relations. If they are sincere in their attempts,how can this infiltration take place…and infiltration attempts are also increasing, he said,adding that the armed forces are capable of meeting challenges on the border.
On the recent pact with China on border cooperation,Antony said mechanisms have been put in place to prevent face-offs and efforts are being made to keep the border peaceful. If anything happens,there are mechanisms to immediately intervene and find solutions as quickly as possible. That is a new development. Both sides are making sincere efforts to maintain peace and stability, he said.
On the notice to Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland for the cancellation of the VVIP helicopter deal following corruption charges,Antony said that there is enough proof that the integrity pact was violated. They have violated the contract. We have taken steps to protect our interests…the final show cause notice has been served. We have given them 21 days to reply to it, he said.
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