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Still a long way to go: Antony on peace in J

By Staff
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Google Oneindia News

Srinagar, July 28 (UNI) Defence Minister A K Antony today said there was still a long way to go to see complete restoration of peace and normalcy in strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir as infiltration and militancy continued unabated.

Addressing a news conference here, he said there were continuous attempts from across the border to infiltrate heavily-armed militants into the Indian side.

''The situation is fast improving in Jammu and Kashmir. A clear change from the past is visible. The people here are for peace.

Sincere efforts are on to restore permanent peace in the state, but at the same time infiltration is continuing and so is militancy.'' Compared to the past, Mr Antony said the militancy-related incidents and the level of violence have gone down.

''I don't think the whole of Jammu and Kashmir is affected by violence. It is a vast state. Violence is limited to certain pockets only. We must continue with our efforts for bringing complete peace and normalcy in the state,'' he added.

The Defence Minister expressed satisfaction that peace has prevailed on the borders for the past nearly four years when both India and Pakistan announced a ceasefire on November 26, 2003. The truce came to be known as Eid ceasefire as the two countries announced the truce on the eve of Eid-ul-Fitr that year.

''I am happy to note that peace has been prevailing on borders between India and Pakistan for the past nearly four years. I hope this peace will continue,'' he added.

Mr Antony said the Indian armed forces were alert to foil any nefarious designs to create disturbances in the country. He also called for strict internal vigil as some vested interests were out to foment trouble in the country.

The Defence Minister arrived here yesterday on his maiden visit to the Kashmir valley. He was accompanied by Army Chief General J J Singh and General Officer-in-Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) Northern Command Lt Gen H S Panag.

During his two-day visit, Mr Antony toured forward areas in Uri and Tangdhar. He also met Jammu and Kashmir Governor Lt Gen (Retd) S K Sinha, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, XV Corps General Officer- in-Commanding (GOC) Lt Gen A S Sekhon and other senior Army and civil officials besides leaders of various political parties here.

UNI

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