No compromise on nation`s security: Antony

Defence Minister AK Antony on Wednesday reassured the Parliament that there will be no compromise on nation`s security.

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Under attack from the Opposition for making contradictory statement on the killing of five Indian soldiers near Line of Control (LoC), Defence Minister AK Antony on Wednesday reassured the Parliament that there will be no compromise on nation`s security.

Making a statement in Rajya Sabha, Antony said, "There is no compromise regarding defence and protection of country`s integrity."

Replying to the main opposition party BJP`s charge that he took a U-turn on the LoC killings, he said, "I made statement on basis of whatever information I had at that time."

The Defence Minister further stated that he will get back to Parliament after Army Chief`s visit to Jammu.

"I will brief the Parliament after meeting Army Chief Bikram Singh, who is in Jammu & Kashmir to assess the situation there," Antony said.

He also reportedly met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh after clarifying on the issue in Rajya Sabha.

The reaction from the Defence Minister came after the BJP slammed him for his statement on the LoC incident.

Amid huge uproar in Parliament, Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj blamed Antony for backtracking on the issue and changing his statement.

Addressing parliamentarians in Lok Sabha, Swaraj said, "The Defence Minister has made contradictory statements on the incident. The nation wants to know why he took a U-turn on the issue."

The BJP leader further said, "Antony has let down the country and he should apologise for doing so."

"Who is the Defence Minister to give a clean chit to the Pakistani Army when the Defence Ministry has not done so in its press release," said BJP leader Sushma Swaraj.

The verbal attack from the Opposition leader led to a huge uproar in the Lower House, which forced the Speaker to adjourn the House first till noon and then till 3pm.

Meanwhile, the Rajya Sabha was also adjourned till 3pm after Opposition MPs created uproar over contradictory statements by the Defence Minister on the killing of Indian soldiers.

The Defence Minister had said in Parliament on Tuesday that "the ambush was carried out by approximately 20 heavily-armed terrorists along with persons dressed in Pakistan Army Uniforms."

Antony`s remark absolved the Pakistani Army from the attack.

Reacting to his statement, senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha today said, "We have sent notice on breach of privilege to the Speaker."
Sinha also derided Antony`s remarks as "most laughable."

Speaking to reporters today, BJP veteran LK Advani also took a tough stand on the issue and demanded the Defence Minister to clarify his position on the LoC killings.

"I am grateful to the Speaker of Lok Sabha for allowing Shushma Swaraj to raise BJP`s concern on the issue. I have also told the Parliamentary Affairs Minister that it is important for the Defence Minister to tell the truth to the nation and clarify what led to the Defence Ministry issue a contradictory statement on the Indian soldiers` killing near LoC."

Minutes before Antony`s statement in Parliament, a press release sent by the Defence Ministry said, "Pak Border Action Team attacked Indian Soldiers" indicting the Pakistani Army, which has denied the charge.
The Jammu press communiqué was issued after collecting details from the Northern Army Command which is tasked to protect entire Jammu and Kashmir.

Later in the day, a visibly embarrassed Defence Ministry withdrew the statement, which conflicted with Antony`s version and said that it "regretted" releasing the statement.

Meanwhile, Army Chief General Bikram Singh is in Jammu where he paid tribute to five Indian soldiers, who were killed along Line of Control allegedly by the Pakistani troops on Tuesday.

The Army Chief will visit Poonch to review the situation.

With Agency inputs