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No Army in Naxal areas, says Antony

No Army in Naxal areas, says Antony

New Delhi, June 18: Defence minister A.K. Antony on Monday said that the government is not in favour of deployment of the Army in areas affected by Naxalism, but added that paramilitary forces and the state police would be given all the necessary support to fight the Naxalites.

"The government is not in favour of deployment of the Army (in Naxalite-affected areas). But we will give all the support to the paramilitary forces and the state police," Mr Antony said.  Currently, nearly a quarter of the Indian Army is deployed for counter-insurgency operations. The parliamentary standing committee had recently stated that the Army should focus on its primary objective of safeguarding the nation's borders and that a federal police force should be set up for internal security duties including combating terrorism.

The defence minister also stated that there could be no forward movement on the Siachen issue unless Pakistan agreed to authenticate the actual ground positions in the area. Mr Antony also accused "vested interests" of trying to scuttle India's role in rebuilding Afghanistan and expressed concern over the resurgence of the Taliban in that country.  "Certain vested interests are trying to scuttle our role in rebuilding Afghanistan," he said.

posted by Bimal 19.6.07,

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