New Delhi: Rubbishing Pakistan’s “advice” for de-activating ground and air troops in forward areas, India today said it has no right to give any such suggestion and pointed out that over 30 terror outfits are still active in that country.
Maintaining that India has done no escalation and the armed forces were only doing their duty, defence minister A. K. Antony said there is “no noticeable change” in the attitude of Pakistan and Indian forces will have to remain alert.
“I do not think there is any noticeable change in the attitude of Pakistan. Statements are not important. Actions are important. They have to prove by their action,” Antony told reporters here on the sidelines of a defence ministry function.
“More than 30 terrorist outfits are still operating in Pakistan, there is no improvement or any change in attitude,” Antony said responding to questions from reporters.
To a question on Pakistan’s suggestion that India should withdraw ground troops and de-activate forward air bases, he said Islamabad has no right to give any such advice.
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“Nobody will tell us, after 26/11 we must be prepared to meet any eventuality. It is our duty,” he asserted.
“Armed forces are doing their duty. They are not escalating anything. They are not doing any power projection. They are doing their duty. They have to be fully prepared to meet any challenge from any quarter, any threat from any quarter,” Antony said.
“We are not escalating the issues. There is no unusual troop movement on our side. Whatever is taking place, the exercise and others, is normal only,” Antony said, underlining that the Indian troops had to remain alert always.
“They (armed forces) are not lowering their guard. They are in a state of full preparedness.
We cannot relax anytime. We must not lower our guard, we have to be fully prepared to meet any challenge, any threat, any eventuality,” he said.
However, there was no time limit that India had given Pakistan to act. “There is no time limit. Only thing left is for them -- to act,” Antony said.
On the Coastal Command, the defence minister said the proposal would come up before the Cabinet Committee on Security anytime now for approval.
“A formal Coastal Command is in the process (of being set up). Already, we have entrusted major responsibilities to the coast guard. At the same time navy, state coastal police, central excise, customs and shipping ministry are now becoming pro-active,” he said.
Providing the much needed hope to the 1.5-million defence personnel on their pay-related anxieties, Antony said the process of addressing the “anomalies” would continue.