Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Situation in Pakistan is very serious: Antony

Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

SECURITY CONCERNS: Defence Minister A.K. Antony interacts with Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik and Chief of the Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor at the Territorial Army’s 60th anniversary parade in New Delhi on Monday. —
NEW DELHI: Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Monday expressed concern over the spread of terrorism and noted that the situation in Pakistan is “very serious” and that necessitated serious and sincere action to meet the challenge.
“The situation in Pakistan is very serious and also terrorism is spreading. To fight terrorism, everybody should act seriously and sincerely. It applies to Pakistan,” Mr. Antony said on the sidelines of the Territorial Army’s (TA) 60th anniversary parade here.
Series of attacks
Mr. Antony’s observation comes in the backdrop of a series of attacks by the Taliban on the Pakistan Army, including the storming of the Army Headquarters at Rawalpindi, and New Delhi’s consistent stand that Islamabad should act against the perpetrators of the November last Mumbai terror attacks.
On the Taliban’s threat to attack India, he said the nation was prepared to meet any challenge from Taliban militants.
The armed forces maintained eternal vigilance and the country was prepared to meet any challenge to its integrity and national security.
‘Real menace’
Asked to comment on the attack in Iran by an organisation said to have links in Pakistan, Mr. Antony said that while he was not willing to say anything offhand, the reality was that terrorism was spreading and becoming a real menace to the world.
Earlier, addressing the parade, the Minister pointed out terrorism continued to be a prime source of concern not only for India but the entire world.
As India assumed an increased role in defining international policies and initiatives, the need of the hour was to secure both the external and internal environments, he said.
“Given the security concerns of the times we live in, our armed forces have a particularly crucial role to play in securing our country from external and internal threats,” he said.
Commending the TA for setting the benchmark of professionalism since its inception, Mr. Antony said the citizens’ army had a great responsibility in augmenting the regular Army, be it during war, national emergencies, or for peace.
Praises TA
The Minister lauded the TA’s role, especially the Infantry and Home & Hearth Infantry Battalions, and departmental units from the railways, oil sector, and the general hospital.
He had a special word for the work being done by the TA’s unique Ecological Battalions.
“The untiring efforts of the ‘Green Warriors’ in afforestation, environment development and preservation of the fragile ecology in various parts of the country is praiseworthy,” he said. 

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