New Delhi: Defence Minister Arackaparambil Kurien Antony Saturday made it clear that the Central Government is not going to decide in haste over removal of the anti militancy law, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), from Jammu and Kashmir.
He said this while speaking on the the occasion of 48th foundation day of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses-IDSA in New Delhi.
The anti-militancy law AFSPA gives security forces, battling militancy in the troubled regions of Kashmir and the northeast, certain powers with no questions asked.
Among other powers, the AFSPA allows security forces to fire upon, or use force against, an assembly of five or more people, or anyone in possession of a lethal weapon. It gives legal immunity to the officials, so they can be neither sued nor prosecuted.
Antony said that that the Union government would not take a decision over the law in haste.
“As I said earlier, violence level in Jammu and Kashmir with all this efforts by the terrorist has come down. But at the same time, attempt to infiltration instead of reducing is increasing that is a matter if concern. That is why I told previously we cannot take a decision on AFSPA in a hasty manner because we are very serious about that,” said Antony.
The Indian Defence Minister also spoke on the issue of demilitarization of Siachen glacier, a military disputed area between India and Pakistan.
“No, we are not for that. Our stand on Siachen is very clear there is no change in our stand,” said Antony.
Officials say the decades-old military standoff on the Siachen glacier, known as the world`s highest battleground, where Indian and Pakistani forces have been facing each other since 1984.
Between 10,000 and 20,000 Indian and Pakistani troops are stationed in the mountains above the Siachen glacier and have fought at altitudes of over 20,000 feet in temperatures of minus 60 degrees Celsius.
Thousands of soldiers from both sides have lost their lives in Siachen, most victims of the inhospitable climate and avalanche-prone terrain that have claimed more lives than gunfire.
There has been a growing clamour to demilitarise Siachen since an avalanche killed 139 soldiers at a Pakistani army camp this year.