Antony reviews security situation, asks Jammu and Kashmir security forces not to be complacent

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Jammu, Jan 12 (ANI): Defence Minister AK Antony on Tuesday asked the security agencies in Jammu and Kashmir not to be complacent and work towards consolidating the gains achieved in the last couple of years.

Addressing the top brass of various security forces and agencies at the Unified Headquarters in Jammu, Antony said the synergy and hard work put in by the various security agencies, as also the local people, has brought down considerably the 'level of violence' in Jammu and Kashmir though the attempts of infiltration have increased.

Antony said the year 2010 may prove to be a crucial one as forces inimical to stability and peace in Jammu and Kashmir would make all-out efforts to neutralise the gains of 2008 and 2009 when the state witnessed considerable improvement in the security situation.

'The incidents of the first week of January in the valley are indicative of the shape of things to come, he added in reference to the terrorist attack in Lal Chowk area of Srinagar.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor, and Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar attended the meeting.

The officers and commanders from Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Service Headquarters and the senior officers from the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Security and Intelligence Agencies also took part in the meeting.

Antony said with the improvement in the security situation, time has now come for the State Police to be given far greater responsibility, particularly in major towns in tackling the threat of terrorism in the state.

However, 'the handing over of the responsibility must be meticulously planned and undertaken in a gradual, phased manner', he added.

The defence minister disclosed that on the request of MoD, the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued instructions to CRPF to take over the entire responsibility of opening of roads on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway- 1 A from January 15, 2010. '

This has been done to reduce the visibility of the Army, without in any way, diluting our counter-terrorist grid, Antony added saying that a request has also been sent to MHA to issue instructions to discontinue the use of combat uniform by all Central Police Organisations and state police.

State Chief Minister Omar Abdullah requested the Defence Minister to explore the possibility of recruiting more youth from the state in the three Armed Forces. He also requested for more helicopter support for reaching out to the populace living in far-flung and remote areas of the state.

Later, the Defence Minister addressed the Jawans and had lunch with them. Dense fog and poor visibility, however, forced the Minister to drop his plans of visiting forward areas of the region. (ANI)

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