Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Monday asked Pakistan to shed its ambivalence on terrorism, stating that Islamabad did not appear to give up its India-centric posture.
“Pakistan does not appear to be willing to leave its India-centric posturing. It will have to shed its ambivalence in dealing with terror groups. Though we are not unduly concerned, we will have to keep constant vigil on the developments in Pakistan,'' Mr. Antony said, inaugurating a five-day Army Commanders' conference here.
Referring to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, he said violence had shown signs of coming down, and credited constant vigil by the Army for it. He said the Army had been successful in countering the proxy war and reducing incidents of terror. “Still, as long as the terror infrastructure across the border continues to flourish, we cannot afford to lower our guard,” an official release quoted him as saying.
Security in AfPak
Turing to the security situation in the ‘AfPak' region, he said it continued to be a cause for concern. Despite the physical and material costs, New Delhi advocated peace and stability with all nations, including its neighbours.
India had committed $1.3 billion for reconstruction and development of infrastructure in Afghanistan. Cautioning about the volatile political situation in India's immediate neighbourhood, he said it could have a debilitating impact on the region.
While emphasising the government's commitment to modernise the defence forces, he stressed the need for probity and transparency in defence deals, strongly advocating ‘zero tolerance' of corruption in letter and in spirit.
Later, addressing the 29th annual Coast Guard Commanders meet, Mr. Antony announced that the Coastal Surveillance Network (CSN) station at Tarapore, Maharashtra, would be commissioned soon.
With threat from the seas on the rise, there was an urgent need to keep India's vast maritime zones under effective round-the-year surveillance, he said.
Mr. Antony said a decision to set up a chain of 46 static sensors atop lighthouses along the coastline needed to be speeded up. As for the Coast Guard, he said it had a current force level of 91 surface platforms and 45 aircraft, and emphasised that the government stood committed to increasing the force levels in a phased manner.
Deals with U.S.
Addressing journalists at the Coast Guard headquarters, Mr. Antony said the possibility of India concluding defence deals during the visit of President Barack Obama was unlikely. Talks for purchase of 10 C-17 Boeing Globemaster heavy-lift transport aircrafts were in the final stages.
On reports of the Navy objecting to the construction of a highrise building in Mumbai in the naval area, Mr. Antony said the government was seized of the matter and was examining it seriously.