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BackYou are here: NewsIndia Operation against Naxals Priority : Indian Defence Ministry

India

Operation against Naxals Priority : Indian Defence Ministry

New Delhi, March 29: The operations against Maoists are the main focus of internal security, more important than even the "proxy war" in Jammu and Kashmir, the annual report of the defence ministry said.

The defence ministry also acknowledged for the first time in several years that relations with Bangladesh had improved but India was concerned with the security situation in Pakistan.

The text of the defence ministry's 2009-2010 annual report was paraphrased and sent as a media release today but the report itself is likely to be publicly released on Tuesday.

Reflecting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's 2005 statement that Naxalites were the "gravest internal security threat", the defence ministry has probably for the first time knocked Jammu and Kashmir off the top billing it got in its list of priorities for internal security.

Even insurgency in the Northeast is more important now that there are signs that militancy in Kashmir is on the wane, the report added.The report does not dwell on the role of the armed forces in tackling Maoists because that is primarily the responsibility of the home ministry. But the army and the air force are involved in training police and transporting troops and material in anti-Maoist operations.

In Jammu and Kashmir, it says, "all parameters of proxy war are at an all time low and the current situation indicated a shift towards normalcy and peace ... the ceasefire on the borders/Line of Control is holding out with a few minor aberrations".

"The increasing incidents of terrorism within Pakistan targeting, inter alia, the security establishment and senior military personnel, and the rising tide of extremism underlined the serious threat to Pakistan itself and to the region", the report said.

It noted that "the Pakistani government made some progress in tackling jihadi insurgency in Swat and the adjacent districts and also in South Waziristan".

"The continued infiltrations across the LoC and the existence of terrorist camps across the India-Pak border, however, demonstrate the continuing ambivalence of Pakistan in its actions against terrorist organisations," India has exercised exemplary restraint in the face of gravest provocation," the report said.Praising Bangladesh, the ministry said: "Relations with Bangladesh have been strengthened since the restoration of multiparty democracy in that country. India is appreciative of the increasing co-operation with Bangladesh in security matters, especially vis-à-vis Indian insurgent groups operating from its territory."

It also said co-operation with Myanmar on security issues was being expanded. In Sri Lanka, the report said, there is "a historic opportunity" to find a political settlement in the northern region after the conclusion of anti-LTTE operations.

On China, the ministry observed that India was "conscious and alert about the implications of China's military modernisation...". Rapid infrastructure development in Tibet and Xinjiang have boosted China's force projection abilities.

But a regular mechanism for friendly military exchanges with China has been established with continuing confidence-building measures.

"Necessary steps have been initiated for the upgradation of our infrastructure and force structuring... along the northern borders," the report claimed.

India is also concerned in Afghanistan because "the security and stability of Afghanistan is critical to India's own security concerns." The report also took note of the security situation in Afghanistan after the US's plan to deploy an additional 30,000 troops in the Af-Pak region by May this year and President Barack Obama's July 2011 timeframe for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

(The Telegraph, 30th March)