'Taliban is real threat to India'

Besides nefarious terror groups inside Pakistan, Taliban have emerged as a new security threat to India, Defence Minister A K Antony has admitted here on Thursday.
After inaugurating the unified commanders’ conference – the first one after 26/11 where national security issues will be discussed threadbare by the top brass of the armed forces – Antony said Taliban was a “real threat to India”.

The defence minister will take up the Taliban issue with the US national security advisor James Jones on Thursday.

On Wednesday Jones met Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in Islamabad to take stock of the Pakistan army’s ongoing operations against the Taliban in Malakand and Swat Valley. A major offensive against the Taliban in the northwest province is expected soon.

“We cannot avoid discussing the security scenario in Afghanistan. The Taliban is a threat to world peace, our region and a real threat to India,” Antony said.
Talking to the top commanders in three services, the defence minister expressed his concerns on Pakistan inducting new sophisticated defence equipment, many of which are not really meant to develop Pakistan’s capacity to fight terror.

One-way traffic
Antony made it clear that peace with Pakistan cannot be a “one-way traffic” and the forces must be vigilant about the happenings on the western border.
 “We should not forget that (anti-India) groups against whom Pakistan is taking action today were earlier seen as assets by its (Pakistan) establishment,” he said, adding that situation in Pakistan was still in turmoil.

Asked if there is any let up in activities of terror camps operating from Pakistan in the past few months, Antony admitted a decline of infiltration in the border.
However, there would be no question of lowering the guards, as the country faces a “real threat” from these terror camps across the border, he said.

Post 26/11 the national security establishment is going through a big shake-up. A new coastal command has been established with the Navy playing a key role and many steps are being taken to address the coastal security issues.

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