Free hand to armed forces on response at the border - The New Indian Express

Free hand to armed forces on response at the border

Published: 13th August 2013 10:43 AM

Last Updated: 13th August 2013 10:43 AM

A week after the brutal killing of five Army soldiers along the Line of Control (LoC) by Pakistan Army commandos and continuing ceasefire violations along the border, Defence Minister A K Antony on Monday said the armed forces guarding the border were free to take appropriate action according to emerging situations there.

“The armed forces have the freedom to respond to the developing situation there appropriately,” Antony told a press conference here soon after his wife Elizabeth christened the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, which was under construction at Cochin shipyard, as INS Vikrant and launched it in the waters.

The cryptic message to the armed forces guarding the 198-km International Border (IB), 778-km Line of Control (LoC) and the 110-km Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) with Pakistan, against the backdrop of last Tuesday’s killing of five soldiers and the repeated ceasefire violations by the Pakistan Army, including thrice on Monday, can only be interpreted in two ways — either they go all-out to sort out the adversary testing their patience or hold fire despite extreme provocation. The only problem with the Defence Minister’s one-line message was how one would qualify what was “appropriate” military action.

It may be difficult to do so, considering that Army chief General Bikram Singh wants his field commanders to be “aggressive” towards Pakistan Army, whereas External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, in consonance with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself, wants to go easy in view of the prospect for peace.  More: P9

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