New Delhi: Defence Minister A K Antony yesterday voiced “serious concern” over an “unusual increase” in ceasefire violations and infiltrations on the border with Pakistan, which he said cannot take place without the “tacit support” of the Pakistani Army.
Addressing reporters on the sidelines of an Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses event here, Antony, referring to the Keran incident in Jammu and Kashmir, said that the Pakistan forces were doing nothing to prevent infiltrations across the border into India.
“Attempts at infiltration are still going on, and increasing, which means with support of elements across the border... Nothing can happen without the tacit support of Pakistan Army,” he said.
“The ceasefire violations are still continuing, but this year there is unusual developments taking place... unusual sudden series of ceasefire violations on the International Border, which is more a matter of concern,” he said.
He also said that India has repeatedly said that it wants to improve relations with Pakistan. “And if (Pakistan) is serious about improving relations, how can the infiltrations and ceasefire violations increase,” he asked.
Another factor of concern, he said, is that the infiltrators are better equipped and prepared for a long haul inside India. He said the inking of a new border accord with China was a “sincere attempt” by both countries to avoid tensions on their disputed border.
The Border Defence Cooperation Agreement was inked during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Beijing last week. Asked if it would prevent situations like the April-May three-week-long face off between troops of both sides in Depsang area in Ladakh, Antony said he cannot foretell if it would prevent such incidents. “I am not an astrologer,” he said.
The minister played down the prospects of a speedy conclusion to contract negotiations with France’s Dassault Aviation for the acquisition of 126 Rafale fighter jets. Asked about recent reported comments from a senior air force figure that the deal might be signed by March, Antony replied that the contract had to go through numerous stages of scrutiny. “How can I set a deadline?” Antony told reporters. “The process is on.”