Indian armed forces capable of handling Al-Qaeda threats: Arun Jaitley

Indian armed forces capable of handling Al-Qaeda threats: Arun Jaitley`


Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said that Indian forces are capable of handling any threat of Al Qaeda in Jammu and Kashmir.

In a press conference in SKICC Srinagar, when Arun Jaitley was asked about the news reports of video in which Al Qaeda has asked for jehad against India in Kashmir said that we have to watch the situation how it develops. There is an element of caution and we are accessing the situation after the US troop withdrawal in Afghanistan and I am sure that our armed forces are capable of handling threats.”

Senior militants from Al Qaeda’s central command have released a video calling on Muslims in the Himalayan region of Kashmir to follow the example of “brothers” in Syria and Iraq and wage a violent jihad against Indian authorities, the Guardian reported on Saturday.

The video, which cites the “new Afghanistan being created in Syria” as inspiration, is the first to specifically target Kashmir.

Entitled “War should continue, message to the Muslims of Kashmir”, the video was uploaded in recent days to a website where statements by other leaders of Al Qaeda and its affiliates have been released in the past.

It is unclear when the video was made, although its production apparently preceded the advances made by the Islamic state in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) in Iraq this week. However, the timing of its release will underline the impression that senior Al Qaeda leaders based in Pakistan, who have suffered heavy losses in recent years, are increasingly marginal to the global jihadi movement, the report said.

Led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian-born veteran militant who took over after the death of Osama bin Laden in May 2011, the group has made increasing efforts in recent years to mobilise the nearly half a billion Muslims who live in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

Zawahiri released a set of strategic guidelines last year that mentioned Kashmir. Last July, a cleric who has been linked to Al Qaeda issued a video statement that reprimanded Indian Muslims for their supposed lack of interest in “global jihad”.

The campaign does not appear to have had much success beyond Pakistan, where the serious threat posed by jihadi violence was underlined by a major attack on the international airport in Karachi, the southern port city and commercial capital, last week.

Violations by Pak must stop for dialogue to progress: Jaitley

The Centre on Sunday asserted that dialogue with Pakistan cannot progress if ceasefire violations and infiltration continue, saying such hostilities “must stop” for the situation to “normalise”.

“For the situation to normalise I think it is extremely important that these kind of violations which are taking place at the LoC must stop. That in itself is a confidence building measure before any country can proceed further,” Defence Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters here on the second day of his maiden visit to Jammu and Kashmir after taking charge.

He replied in the negative when asked if dialogue with Pakistan would go ahead if the ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) and infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir continued.

“Obviously not,” Jaitley, who is on a two-day visit for reviewing security measures, said, adding ceasefire violations must stop for further progress.

Any decision on revoking AFSPA will depend on situation: Jaitley

Any decision on revoking Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in northern state of Jammu and Kashmir will depend on the progress in the situation in the state over a period of time, Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said on Sunday.

“As far as today the situation is concerned, our armed forces and local security forces have been handling the situation. Over the period of time, we have to watch how the situation progresses,” Jaitley told reporters here at the end of his two-day visit to the state.

He was responding to a question on whether the Centre will consider revoking the controversial AFSPA in the state in view of the improved security scenario.

“As far as your question is concerned, today I am not in a position to make any comment on this,” he said.

Replying to another question, the Defence Minister said sanction for prosecution of armed forces personnel accused of involvement in human rights violations is decided on the merits of the case.

“Each case is decided on its own merits. In case the permission has no basis, then it (prosecution) certainly cannot be allowed. In case there is a basis in it, there is a human rights violation, it will be viewed differently,” he said.

~ India Today