Will cross borders if targeted from outside, warns Rajnath Singh

The Defence Minister said India has been successful in giving out the message that terrorism will be strongly dealt with

Rajnath Singh cited the Delimitation panel report following which the number of assembly seats in J&K has increased to 90, with Kashmir having 47 seats and Jammu 43 seats

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday asserted that India would not hesitate to act against terrorists who target the country from across the border. Speaking at a programme in Guwahati, where Assam-based veterans of 1971 India-Pakistan War were felicitated, Singh said the government was working to wipe out terrorism from the country.

“India has been successful in giving out the message that terrorism will be strongly dealt with. We will not hesitate to cross borders if the country is targeted from outside,” he maintained. Singh also said that the eastern boundary of the country is currently experiencing more peace and stability compared to the western frontier. “The tension that India experiences on western frontier does not exist along eastern boundary as Bangladesh is a friendly country,” he noted.

“The problem of infiltration has almost ended. There is peace and stability at the border (in the eastern frontier) now,” the minister said.

AFSPA dependent on situation

On the recent withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from different parts of North-East, the defence minister stated that the government did so whenever the situation in a place improved. Maintaining that there was a “public misconception” that the Army always wanted AFSPA to remain in force, Singh added, “It is the situation that is responsible for imposition of AFSPA, not the Army.”

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“Some people believe that the Indian Army does not want AFSPA to be removed. I want to say from this forum today that the Indian Army has a minimum role in the matter of internal security. Army only wants that soon the situation in Jammu and Kashmir should be completely normal and AFSPA can be removed from there too,” he said.

Recently, the AFSPA has been lifted from 23 Assam districts completely and from one district partially, 15 police stations in six Manipur districts, and 15 police stations in seven districts of Nagaland.

The controversial act empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere and arrest anyone without any prior warrant. In addition to giving them sweeping powers, it also gives the forces legal immunity against a civilian trial.

Also read: Centre withdraws AFSPA from parts of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur