Defence Minister A.K. Antony has stated that cross-border infiltration, particularly into Jammu & Kashmir, has come down in recent months but the situation prevailing in neighbouring countries remained a matter of concern.

At an impromptu press conference on the sidelines of the graduation ceremony of flight cadets in the Air Force Academy at Dundigal, about 30 kms from here on Thursday, Mr. Antony asserted that armed forces were well prepared to face any challenge and defend the territorial integrity.

The fact that about 30,000 personnel were withdrawn from Jammu & Kashmir was an indication of an improvement in the situation there. It was purely a decision taken by the armed forces themselves and there was no political pressure involved in it. The forces were returning to their original bases, the Defence Minister said.

However, the security forces were required to remain on alert all through as the terrorist outfits operating from the neighbouring countries would make determined and frequent attempts to push through across the border into India, Mr. Antony said.

Attributing the decline in infiltration to the dedication and sacrifices of armed forces the minister hoped that the situation would improve further.

Women’s contribution

Lauding the growing number of women in the Air Force, he said the IAF was recruiting cadets on full-scale. The number of women in last batch of trainees in 2008 was 20 out of 97 and it had grown to 32 in the first batch of 2009 and 37 in the latest batch. The latest batch included 40 youth who quit their corporate jobs to take up service for the nation.

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