|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
No setback to process of return of normalcy in J&K: Antony
October 04, 2007 19:46 IST
Terming the fierce gunbattle near the tourist resort of Gulmarg on Wednesday in which nine terrorists were killed as an "isolated incident", Defence Minister A K Antony on Thursday said there was no setback to the process of return of normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir [Images].
"The situation in the state is showing improvement and the Valley is by and large peaceful," Antony told reporters in Gulmarg on the sidelines of a function.
He, however, did not say if the government proposed to undertake troop withdrawal from the militancy-hit state.
Asked whether the Gulmarg incident in which two army majors were also killed belied claims that there had been a drop in infiltration, Antony said compared to past years, there had been definite decline in infiltration.
However, the minister cautioned that though the situation was showing marked signs of improvement, there could be no lowering of the guard.
"We have to remain vigilant especially in Jammu and Kashmir," he said.
On the incident, the defence minister said such happenings were "isolated" and described the killing of two majors as "tragic."
He said it had happened as the officers of the army had the tradition of leading an operation from the front.
"The two officers were on the forefront of the battle," he said adding, the "nation saluted their valour."
On demands being made by the People's Democratic Party, a ruling coalition partner in the state, for reduction of number of troops, the defence minister said the commitee headed by the defence secretary had submitted its report on the issue.
"The committee studied the ground situation in the state at length," he said adding, the government was in the process of going through the recommendations.