Maintain restraint while dealing with insurgency: Antony

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Itanagar, Apr 06 (UNI) Defence Minister A K Antony today exhorted the Army personnel to maintain restraint, while dealing with insurgency in the northeast.

''The northeast and its people are beautiful but insurgency has undone all the achievements. We require maturity and ensure that the common man is not victimized,'' Mr Antony said, while addressing the Indian Army base at Tawang bordering China, informed Defence Spokesman Col R Kalia.

The Defence Minister, who arrived at Tawang this morning from Tezpur, accompanied by Chief of Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh, GOC-in-C, Eastern Command Lt Gen VK Singh and GoC, 4th Corps Lt Gen BS Jaswal, reviewed the operational preparedness of troops of field formations at Tawang and the infrastructure on the Indian side.

He said that there was a strong case for more infrastructure projects in the northeast. ''As far as development is concerned, it is a top priority of our government,'' he added.

His visit to the frontier town was, however, cut short due to bad weather. The defence minister's second scheduled stop at 5th Mountain Division headquarters at Tenga had to be cancelled because of the bad weather.

The defence spokesman further informed that the minister applauded the troops for guarding the border under the ''tough conditions and performing duties with sincerity and dedication.'' ''Our government is committed to modernisation and will ensure all-round welfare of the armed forces personnel and their families,'' he said, adding that there were some points in the central pay, which needs to be clarified with the government.

Earlier in the day, on arrival at Tawang, Mr Antony had a brief interaction with the Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and assured to renovate all the strategically important helipads of the state after signing MoU with the state government.

He briefed by Mr Khandu on various issues pertaining to the state like relaxation of prescribed physical criteria for recruitment of Arunachalees in Indian Army, marketing of local agricultural produce by farmers to the Indian Army establishment in Arunachal Pradesh, establishment of Arunachal Pradesh Scouts, Army recruitment Rallies to be held at regular intervals for recruiting suitable candidates from the State and Refueling facility for civilian helicopter at army base at Tawang, to which the union minister assured to initiate appropriate measures.

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