India to take up opening of Hussainiwala border with Pak govt

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Ferozepur, May 13 (UNI) Defence Minister A K Antony today said the government would take up the proposal of opening the Hussainiwala border in the district for trade with the new Pakistan Government.

''The opening of the border would immensely help in promoting trade ties as well as people-to-people contact between the two neighbouring countries,'' he said while addressing the mediapersons after attending a special sainik sammelan, here.

The Union Defence Minister, accompanied by Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor and Lt Gen T K Sapru, G-O-C, Western Command, paid a day long visit to the border town of Ferozepur.

On the issue of infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Antony said the state scheduled to go for assembly elections soon, could witness infiltration from Pakistan border during the summers and the Indian Army and the other security agencies were geared up to ensure free and peaceful elections in the state.

"The atmosphere in the valley is fast returning to normalcy and the political parties are showing interest in participating in the poll process," he said.

In response to a query on the expansion of missile programme and setting up of a new Army base by China the Minister said, ''Such steps can be countered by modernising the defence set-up and the government was taking steps to introduce new technology and improve the defence forces at all levels,'' Mr Antony said.

On the dissatisfaction in a section of defence personnel regarding the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations, the Minister said the government was seized of the matter and would soon hammer out a solution to make them more viable for the army personnel.

"The government is committed to ensure all-round welfare, as well as physical and emotional well-being of our troops. We are keen to provide better education facilities for children of Armed Forces personnel and improve other service conditions like married accommodation project," he said, adding that "Army Commanders and senior officers have been asked to be more liberal in granting leave.

Later, the Union Minister visited the national memorial at Hussainiwala and paid floral tributes to great national martyrs trio, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev.

UNI XC-PS JN MMS1756

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