The government on Sunday said its long-term aim in Kashmir was to entrust the responsibility of law and order to local police and bring normalcy there.
“As far as policy is concerned, we are very clear. Our ultimate aim is to bring normalcy in Kashmir and entrust law and order to Kashmir police itself. The army can safely safeguard the border. That is our long-term aim,” Defence Minister A.K. Antony said.
Mr. Antony was replying to a question on whether the government will back out of its plan to move out troops from the valley as there has been a rise in violence in the last two months and cross-border infiltration has increased.
The minister said the policy of the government was not ad-hoc and decisions are taken after careful considerations, after discussion with various stakeholders like the state government and the central agencies.
“We feel that at this moment... last few months, there is an attempt from enemies across the border for attempting more infiltration. But at the same time, on the whole, the situation in Kashmir is improving,” Mr. Antony said.
He said by and large the law and order situation in Kashmir is now much better as compared to previous years and violence has come down.
Mr. Antony said everybody knew that Kashmir was gradually returning to normalcy but warned that there are forces who do not like the fast improvement in the situation.
“There are forces who do not like the fast improvement.
That is why they are doubling their attempt to have violence, to have more infiltration. Our security forces are meeting that effectively,” Mr. Antony said.
To a question about the build-up in the North-East and Ladakh region, he said it was not a build-up but only an effective deterrent.
“We have to be always vigilant especially when the security scenario around us is not that good. We are trying to strengthen our security wherever needed to the extent that the country is always assured that there is effective deterrent in the country. We are building up an effective deterrent, nothing else,” the minister said.
Mr. Antony said India was not a “war mongering country” and wants to live in peace with its neighbours.
“That is why inspite of provocations at times we are still trying to improve our relations with our neighbours. But certain things cannot move forward unless action is taken by the neighbours,” he said.
The minister said that even though the country was not for any kind of confrontation on its own, it has to be on guard always looking at the security scenario around.
“As a policy, we do not want confrontation. But at the same time we are ever ready to meet any challenges from any quarter against our national security. We have to protect every inch of our land. Unless national security is strengthened, there cannot be any peace in the country,” Mr. Antony said.