No decision yet to deploy army to fight Naxals: Antony

Pune, May 31: Defence Minister A K Antony on Monday said the government was “examining all pros and cons of various aspects” of deploying army in anti-Naxalite operations in the country.

While making it clear that government had not taken any decision in the matter so far, he said, “we are carefully examining all pros and cons of various aspects and once a decision is made, it will be binding on the military.” “The armed forces will also accept whatever decision government takes” and implement it with vigour, Antony added.

Antony, interacting with the media after taking salute at the passing out parade of 118th course of National Defence Academy (NDA) at Khadakwasla, about 20 kms from here, refuted a suggestion that the Union cabinet was split over the issue of bringing in the armed forces to combat the Naxal violence. Denying that the matter came up for discussion during his recent meeting with Army Chief General V K Singh, Antony said it was a routine call.

On the Naxalite menace, Antony said government was taking seriously the “emerging scenario” in which both national and internal security had assumed prime importance. After the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, the government was taking utmost care to step up land, air and coastal security and the armed forces were fully alive to increasing threat perceptions stemming from international terrorism, he said. Earlier, the minister reviewed a passing out parade of the young NDA cadets.

“Wars in future will be unpredictably dispersed and largely undefined and the distinction between conventional and unconventional military operations will be blurred,” Antony said while addressing the cadets.

The minister asked them to prepare for “synergic execution of plans” and hone their leadership skills. Cadet P A Varma was declared winner of the President’s gold medal in the overall order of merit of the passing out course.