India voices concern over US equipping Pakistan Army
Thiruvananthapuram: Government on Saturday expressed serious concern over the US equipping Pakistan army with modern weapons and asked Washington to ensure that they were not used against India.
"United States decision to provide sophisticated weapons (to Pakistan) is a matter of serious concern to India. The US should ensure that these weapons are not targeted against India," Defence Minister AK Antony told reporters here.
Noting that the issue had already been taken up with the US Defence Secretary during his visit to India recently, he said the American explanation that Pakistan army has to be strengthened to fight terrorist outfits like Al-Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan was not convincing to India.
Antony, who inaugurated a new building at the Coast Guard Station at Vizhinjam near here, said, "Our past experience is bitter" on this issue.
The Defence Minister said he told US Defence Secretary that even though they were providing equipment to fight terrorists, Pakistan army was deploying them on Jammu and Kashmir borders.
"This is a matter of concern to India and I hope that the US will take a serious note of this," Antony said.
Defence Minister also said that 42 terrorist camps functioning on the border have to be disbanded by Pakistan for the India-Pakistan talks to be successful.
"Pakistan has not made any serious attempt to disband the camps that are functioning close to Jammu and Kashmir. The decision for bilateral talks has been made consciously and it was not an ad hoc one," Antony told reporters after inaugurating the new office complex of the Coast Guard station at Vizhinjam near here.
"Though there was no breakthrough, being a conscious decision, the process (of talks) will continue," he added.
The minister said the Union Home Ministry and the Jammu and Kashmir government have evolved a formula to check infiltration and bring back terrorists to normal life.
"Many have surrendered too. With the conditions becoming normal, there is an increase in tourist arrivals in Kashmir. Attempts for terrorist infiltration are there and the armed forces are maintaining an eternal vigil on the border," he said.
On the Maoist issue, he denied that the government had any information on the Chinese aiding and abetting the Maoists.
"The Army will give logistic support to the state police (of Maoist-affected states). Paramilitary forces will be used for training the State police," said Antony.
He said the acquisition of defence equipments and aircraft has increased considerably in the past five years.
"The process for acquiring the Kiev-class aircraft, Admiral Gorshkov, from Russia is in the final stage," added Antony.
He said that after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, the threat through sea has increased and a coordinated effort of the forces as well as the government is being made to prevent such attacks.
"One of the positive aspects is that even fishermen have become alert and are giving valuable tip-offs to the forces," said Antony.
With PTI & IANS inputs