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Antony: our forces ready to meet any challenge on border

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Tuesday admitted that violations of ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) by the Pakistani troops and attempts by militants to infiltrate were on the rise. However, there was no cause for worry.

Talking to journalists on the sidelines of a function here, he said: “Our forces are doing their best to prevent these incidents. By and large, they are able to control the situation. Our forces are ready to meet any challenge on the border.”

Tuesday’s firing by Pakistani troops on a Border Security Force (BSF) post in Poonch, where four jawans were injured, was stated to be the 30th ceasefire violation since January this year.

The infiltration attempts by militants into Jammu and Kashmir from across the border too have witnessed a substantial increase, touching over 130 incidents between March and July.

“Every summer, these kinds of things [Pakistani firing and militant infiltration] do happen. This year, the cross-border firing incidents are more. But it does not mean the entire border is troublesome. Even now I feel we have to hold on to the ceasefire,” he said, while replying to a question on the relevance of the November 2003 ceasefire agreement with Pakistan repeatedly violating it.

Amarnath row

On the Amarnath row, Mr. Antony called on the agitators to maintain restraint, as any further debate over the current impasse would directly impact India’s security.

“You know very well the situation — both in the Valley and Jammu — is a matter of concern to us. In the rest of the country, there can be political debates. But in J&K, we are playing with the security of the nation. Therefore, we have to keep restraint,” Mr. Antony told journalists, after inaugurating an international defence seminar here.

Maintaining that the government was making an “all-out effort” to bring normality in the border State, he said the task at hand was difficult.

“I do not want to say anything more now. Already, the government’s stand is very clear,” he added.

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