2 Jan :Rubbishing Pakistan’s "advice" for de-activating ground and air troops in forward areas, India on Friday said it has no right to give any such suggestion and pointed out that 30 terror outfits are still active in that country.
Maintaining that India has done no escalation and the armed forces were only doing their duty, Defence Minister A K Antony said there is "no noticeable change" in the attitude of Pakistan and Indian forces will have to remain alert.
"I do not think there is any noticeable change in the attitude of Pakistan. Statements are not important. Actions are important. They have to prove by their action," Defence Minister A K Antony told reporters in New Delhi on Friday on the sidelines of a Defence Ministry function.
"More than 30 terrorist outfits are still operating in Pakistan, there is no improvement or any change in attitude," Antony said responding to questions from reporters.
To a question on Pakistan’s suggestion that India should withdraw ground troops and de-activate forward air bases, he said Islamabad has no right to give any such advice.
"Nobody will tell us, after 26/11 we must be prepared to meet any eventuality. It is our duty," he asserted."Armed forces are doing their duty. They are not escalating anything. They are not doing any power projection. They are doing their duty. They have to be fully prepared to meet any challenge from any quarter, any threat from any quarter," Antony said.
"We are not escalating the issues. There is no unusual troop movement on our side. Whatever is taking place, the exercise and others, is normal only," Antony said, underlining that the Indian troops had to remain alert always.
"They (armed forces) are not lowering their guard. They are in a state of full preparedness. We cannot relax anytime. We must not lower our guard, we have to be fully prepared to meet any challenge, any threat, any eventuality," he said.
However, there was no time limit that India had given Pakistan to act. "There is no time limit. Only thing left is for them to act," Antony said.On the Coastal Command, the Defence Minister said the proposal would come up before the Cabinet Committee on Security anytime now for approval.
"A formal Coastal Command is in the process (of being set up). Already, we have entrusted major responsibilities to the Coast Guard. At the same time Navy, State coastal police, Central Excise, Customs and Shipping Ministry are now becoming pro-active," he said.
Providing the much needed hope to the 1.5-million defence personnel on their pay-related anxieties, Antony said the process of addressing the "anomalies" would continue.
However, he said the government had addressed two major demands. "The long-pending demand for a separate pay commission for armed forces is a major step. The impact may not be immediate. Here after, the armed forces pay commission will be delinked from the civilian services," he said.
Antony said the government had accepted the demand for restoring the pensionary benefits for the jawans and by and large had taken care of Lieutenant Colonels.
Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said the evidence available with India and international agencies about involvement of Pakistan-based elements in Mumbai attacks has been shared with Islamabad.
Briefing media persons after a Union Cabinet meeting in New Delhi on Friday, he said the international community, particularly its friends, should help in pressurising Pakistan to end cross-border terrorism.
"Terrorists came from Pakistan and attacked common people in Mumbai. It should stop," he said.Pointing out that India is in touch with various countries, Sibal said, "We have evidence. International agencies also have evidence. Pakistan has been given this evidence. No country can say the conclusions of India are not correct."
At the international level, "our friends should help" in pressurising Pakistan, he said."But more importantly, we have to be strong ourselves. That is why we are setting up the new investigation agency and taking other measures," Sibal said, adding, that these, however, cannot happen overnight.
"What steps are taken in the future will be seen. These things don’t happen in one day. Time will tell," he said but underlined that "We will secure the nation that is promise to the nation".