Parrikar favours strong response to counter terror attacks

NEW DELHI, Dec 12:
A week after 11 security personnel were killed in terror attacks in Kashmir, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today said the militants had come from Pakistan and India will have to give “strong response” to check such “blatant attempts”.
The Defence Minister, who visited Kashmir yesterday, said a change in situation will emerge after six months as Government was planning a number of steps but refused to elaborate.
“I feel that there has to be some strong response which will once and for all or at least reduce this blatant attempts. It’s an open secret that they (militants) came from Pakistan ” he said, adding, “You will see the developments in the next six months.”
The Defence Minister was replying to a question on whether India’s responses to militant attacks in Kashmir Valley have been effective.
Parrikar said his immediate priority is to ensure proper equipment and support to armed forces guarding the country in Jammu and Kashmir.
When pointed out that Pakistan possesses nuclear power and how the Government will respond effectively, the Defence Minister said “nuclear doctrine asks us to maintain restraint.
“I am not talking of a full scale war. Full scale war is totally different. But if there are places where you get the terrorists across, there are people who do it. I think those people will have to be brought under pressure,” he said during Aaj Tak Agenda programme.
The Kashmir Valley was last week rocked by four terror attacks by militants who stormed an Army camp in Uri leaving 11 security personnel, including a Lt Colonel, dead and killed two civilians in Tral, ahead of the third phase of polling in Assembly elections in the State.
The Defence Minister also underlined the need for taking preventive measures to deal with the problem of militancy but did not elaborate.
“We need not wait for someone to attack,” he said, adding security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir effectively retaliated to various attacks.
“I just want to say that when they tried we have retaliated. This year the total number of neutralised terrorists is 102 as compared to 66 last year,” said Parrikar.
Last week, India had said Pakistan’s support to UN-designated terrorist and Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed and his proscribed Jamaat-ud-Dawah was “nothing short of mainstreaming of terrorism.”
Pakistan Government had provided logistical support to a two-day congregation in Lahore last week which was organised by JuD.
Pakistan says there is no case against Hafiz Saeed and that he is free to move in the country as a Pakistani national.
Resolving to end perennial delays in arms procurement, Parrikar said Government will unveil a “clear-cut” policy next month on engaging “representatives” for arms purchase and announce fresh norms to blacklist erring firms.
Promising a raft of steps to speed up military procurement, Parrikar said blacklisting of defence suppliers to root out corruption was not the only solution and indicated going for heavy penalties against erring firms.
“We should be in a position to have a very clear cut policy by January on representatives and on blacklisting. What does blacklisting mean. How far we can take it forward,” Parrikar said.
India’s military procurements have been dogged by long delays and allegations of graft and many defence experts had suggested legalising “agents” for speedy purchase of military hardware.
On having “representatives”, he said they should have a very clear agreement with the Defence Ministry on their fees and there should be provisions of heavy penalty on violators.
The former Goa Chief Minister said having “representative” with a very clear method of payment and fees was a better solution to the defence forces than delaying the procurement procedures.
“There should be a very clear agreement deposited with the Defence Ministry in advance. Very heavy penalty (should be imposed) if you violate that,” he said addressing Aaj Tak Agenda.
On issues like imposing penalty, he was quick to add that it was his “loud thinking” and that final decision will be taken later.
Underlining the need for speeding up defence procurement, the Minister said the Government was working on ensuring transparency and said delay in decision-making allows entry of more agents.
“Jitna delay in decision making, utna agents jada ghus jata hei,” he said.
Observing that blacklisting was not the only solution, the Defence Minister said Italian defence multinational Finmeccanica, which was blacklisted, has so many subsidiaries and wondered was it viable not to buy arms from any one of them.
Expressing concern over death of army personnel in various accidents, Parrikar said he will not allow any carelessness.
“Give me sometime I will establish accountability. I cannot lose soldiers while loading the gun. Definitely no.”
Asked whether the last 10 years were a lost decade in terms of modernisation of armed forces, he said, “It was a lost decade for defence forces but it was gain decade for many others.”
On his predecessor A K Antony, Parrikar, who is an IIT graduate, said, “There is no solution only by remaining honest.
“I agree that Antony may have a clean image that does mean the reflection of cleanliness in the actual procurement.
“To remove dirt, you have to step into it,” Parrikar said, adding he reads all the files and his engineering background at times helps him in understanding technical issues.
“I do not know how many ministers read files. I read files and raise many queries. I have been habitual reader. I can isolate the good part of it. I think once you have clean intentions or proper reasoning for all judgements, there can be no question of quality of the judgement,” he added.
On implementation of the ‘One Rank, One Pension’ policy, Parrikar said an announcement will be made within next 4-8 weeks.
“I will not drag the issue for long. I will sort it out at the earliest. If I could take the satisfaction level (of the former armed personnel) to 80-90 per cent, that should be a good enough solution,” he said.
‘One Rank, One Pension’ has been a long-standing demand of the over two million ex-servicemen of India. It seeks to ensure that a uniform pension is paid to the defence personnel retiring at the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement. (PTI)

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