Special Correspondent

Minister holds review meeting with services chiefs

NEW DELHI: Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Tuesday directed the Army to deal with the situation arising out the recent terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir with the “utmost firmness.”

Mr. Antony, who reviewed the security situation at a meeting here, stressed that recent incidents highlighted the nature of threat the country faced from terrorists. During the last five days, the security forces had killed 16 militants in Kupwara district. Eight defence personnel including an army officer also lost their lives.

The Chief of the Army Staff, General Deepak Kapoor; the Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Sureesh Mehta; the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major; and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh attended the meeting, an official release said.Mr. Antony reviewed implementation of the decision on maritime security at a separate meeting with the Naval Chief, Director-General of Coast Guard Vice Admiral Anil Chopra and senior officers of the Navy, the Coast Guard and the Defence Ministry. Last month, the Minister announced the contours of maritime security tasking the Navy with overall responsibility.

The issues reviewed included setting up of radar stations to cover the entire 7,516-km coastline. The Coast Guard is to implement this plan in a time-bound manner. Other Cabinet decisions on having a joint control room of the Navy and the Coast Guard and acquisition of ships and aircraft were also reviewed.

The Navy and the Coast Guard briefed the Minister on the steps they have taken to provide a secure cordon along the coast by intensifying patrol.

There is a proposal to hold another review meeting next week to which representatives of the Ministers for Home, Shipping and Petroleum and Natural Gas would be invited.