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India: Militants from Pakistan waiting to cross into Kashmir

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Jan 9, IRNA -- Voicing concern over reports that a large number of militants from Pakistan are waiting to cross the LoC into Kashmir, Defence Minister A K Antony Saturday said almost all terrorist groups are "still active" in Pakistan.

"This is a matter of concern because in spite of repeated requests from the Indian Government, almost all terrorist outfits operating from across the border are still active and the Government of Pakistan is not taking much steps", he told reporters at the Indian Coast Guard headquarters in Kochi in Kerala.

He said the Kashmir situation was a "matter of concern", though the scenario has "not worsened" compared to last year.

PTI quoted him as saying that over 700 terrorists were waiting across the border in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) to sneak into J&K.

"India has taken all precautions to deal with the situation."

Hitting out at Pakistan for its sharp reaction on India's military doctrine, he said, "I don't know why there is this over-reaction. India is not a war-mongering country.

"In spite of our differences with some of the neighbouring countries, we are trying to improve our relations with them. We have no extra-territorial ambition but our concern is to protect the country's territorial integrity."

Islamabad has described as "absurd" and "irresponsible" the Indian Army's new doctrine which includes scenarios such as a two-front simultaneous war with both China and Pakistan.

Antony said the Navy, Army and Air Force were being strengthened to enhance security.

The process of acquiring 20 fast patrol vessels, 41 interceptor boats, 12 coastal surveillance aircraft and 7 offshore patrol vehicles is underway, he said.

The government had recently cleared starting of four air enclaves for the Coast Guard at Kochi, New Mangalore, Goa and Visakhapatnam, he said.

Joint operation centres are functional at Mumbai, Kochi, Port Blair and Visakhapatnam, with sharing of intelligence, he said, adding that a regional headquarter has been set up in Gujarat to monitor the coast.

Antony said the procedure to install a chain of 46 Static Radars across nine coastal stations was nearing completion.

Pointing out that coastal security has become all the more important after the 26/11 attack at Mumbai,he said "within a few years, you will see a new Indian Coast Guard".

To a query, he said 20 percent additional recruitment would be made in the Coast Guard.

Turning on to Somali pirates, Defence Minister called for more coordinated and effective action to check attacks by Somali pirates as they continue to target merchant ships despite the presence of Navy personnel from 40 countries in Gulf of Eden.

"We have to take more coordinated and effective action. International community coordination is there now," he said responding to a question from reporters on "inaction" by the Centre to rescue the 11 Indian sailors captured by Somali pirates recently.

"Warships from almost all important nations including China, US, Russia, UK, France and India are operating in the Gulf of Eden. Navies of about 40 countries are present there. In spite of that, I agree with you, still occasionally this kind of piracy is taking place," he said.

Indian Navy was able to rescue not only many of our own ships but even ships from other foreign countries, he said.

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End News / IRNA / News Code 886679



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