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Antony against army role to check Maoist violence


Bangalore: Defence Minister A.K. Antony said here Saturday he was not in favour of direct involvement of armed forces in checking the growing Maoist violence.


"I agree Maoists pose a real threat to our internal security. But I am not for a direct involvement of the armed forces in meeting it. It is primarily the duty of the state police and the paramilitary forces to check their violence," Antony told reporters here.


The minister, however, hastened to add that the army would extend whatever assistance the state governments required in combating the Maoist menace.


"I can assure from the army side, they (state governments) can expect enormous support on training their police force and other agencies to neutralise the Maoists and maintain law and order," Antony said.


On the issue of troop withdrawal from Jammu & Kashmir, the minister said the government had already set up three committees to review the situation in the border state and take appropriate measures to protect life and property.


"On the borders, however, the troops will remain as there is no demilitarisation plan and vigil has to be maintained all the time. We are not for confrontation with any country. What happened in the past with some countries, we are trying to improve as a conscious policy, especially with the neighbours," Antony disclosed.


Referring to the modernisation of the armed forces in the region with sophisticated weapons from various countries, the minister said India could neither ignore the developments taking place nor lower the vigil on the borders as well as along the vast coast line.


On the test-firing of nuclear-capable, intermediate range ballistic missile Agni-III Thursday, Antony said the successful test signalled India's entry into the select group of nations with the ability to hit targets 3,500 km away with accuracy and precision.


"I congratulate the scientists for the long-range test, coming as it does nine months after the first test failed. More such tests will be decided," the minister said. -IANS

KalingaTimes.com

posted by Resistance 4/15/2007 08:44:00 AM,

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