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Six more months to demine Indo-Pak border: Fernandes
December 27, 2002 18:13 IST
The Army will take another six months to remove mines from the fields bordering Pakistan, Defence Minister George Fernandes said on Friday.
"The Army has completed demining of about 16-18 per cent of the area in the last two months. After seeing the time consuming process of demining, it looks that it will take not less than six months," he said in an interview.
Fernandes, who on Thursday visited frontier posts of the western sector to review the demining activity, said about 80 army personnel have lost their lives in the time-consuming activity.
Officials briefing Fernandes at the demining site said over 2.92 lakh anti-personnel and anti-tank mines were laid in the fields close to Pakistani border in that sector after last year's December 13 terrorist attack on the Parliament.
Out of this about 11 per cent mines have been recovered or exploded, they said.
Accusing Pakistan of not letting up its support to anti- India terrorist groups, Fernandes said additional troops are being maintained at all points where the "enemy is capable of mischief."
Asked what he meant by 'mischief', he said, "Kargil was a mischief. One has to be in a position to react to these [mischief]," he said, adding, "That's where redeployment from the earlier deployment is called for."
Some of the forward positions on the border with Pakistan would be maintained for strategic reasons even after the completion of troops withdrawal, he said.
More reports from Jammu and Kashmir
Read about: The Road to Peace | Kargil Crisis