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We want peace but LoC incident is unacceptable: PM

February 12, 2013 21:24 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said India wanted peaceful existence with its neighbours but the recent incident of beheading by Pakistani troops was "against the norms of civilized international behavior" and "unacceptable".

Addressing a conference of governors in New Delhi, Singh said there is a need to recognise that India's neighbourhood is "characterised by growing instability and uncertainty" and that capabilities of armed forces and police are being "constantly strengthened" to meet the entire spectrum of security challenges.

"We remain committed to working for good relations and peaceful existence with our neighbours. However, we are also firm in our resolve to deal effectively with any threat to our country," he said.

Referring to beheading of Indian soldier by Pakistani troops in Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said, "Incidents like the one that took place on the LoC last month are against the norms of civilised international behaviour and are simply unacceptable to us."

Pakistani troops had carried out a cross-LoC attack on January 8, killing two Indian soldiers, one whom was beheaded. India has since been pressing for return of the head.

The incident had angered India which put on hold a scheme for visa for elderly people and the prime minister had stated that after the incident, it could not be "business as usual" with Pakistan.

Referring to the security challenges facing the country, Singh told the conference that capabilities of armed force and police are being "constantly strengthened" to meet the entire spectrum of security challenges.

"We are also undertaking infrastructure development programs in the border areas to enhance mobility as well as connectivity," he said.

Referring to Left-wing extremism, he said its geographical spread in the country is showing a shrinking trend even though in Assam, it is expanding, which is "worrisome".

Explaining Centre's "two pronged" policy to tackle Left Wing Extremism, the prime minister said, "Even as we have intensified operations against the extremists, we have also endeavoured to bridge the development and governance deficit in these areas, many of which have predominantly tribal population."

Listing the steps taken by the government, Singh said they include deploying additional central forces, raising specialised forces, strengthening police stations and imparting training to state police personnel in counter insurgency, jungle warfare and anti-terrorism operations.

The prime minister agreed on the need for "greater inter-state coordination in operations against Left Wing Extremists", emphasised by Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasimhan. "One cannot agree more with him," he said.

Singh said the Integrated Action Plan for 82 select and backward districts, most of which are affected by LWE, is beginning to show encouraging results.

"Road connectivity in these districts is also being improved. We have also taken steps to streamline the process for vesting of forest rights under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act to the entitled people," he said.

He stressed that "much more remains to be done and we will make all efforts to accomplish what we still have to do."

Singh said 2012 saw clear signs of improvement in the internal security situation, including in Jammu and Kashmir, the North East and LWE-affected areas.

"However, there is a lot which still needs to be done. The home minister has briefed us of our plan of action to meet challenges such as terrorism and LWE, which have both external and internal dimensions," he said.

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