New Delhi: Asserting that terrorists have to be neutralised only through terrorists, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that India will take “pro-active” steps to prevent a 26/11 type attacks hatched from foreign soil.
“There are certain things that I obviously cannot discuss here. But if there is any country, why only Pakistan, planning something against my country, we will definitely take some pro-active steps,” he said at an event here on Thursday.
Speaking candidly, the Minister used the Hindi phrase “kante se kanta nikalna” (removing a thorn with a thorn) and wondered why Indian soldiers should be used to neutralise terrorists. He said the pro-active steps could include pressure tactics.
“We have to neutralise terrorists through terrorists only. Why can't we do it? We should do it. Why does my soldier have to do it?,” he said adding that this issue cannot be discussed beyond this.
He was speaking at ‘Manthan' conclave organised by news channel and was replying to a question on what would be government's reaction if a repeat of Mumbai attacks or a Parliament attack takes place.
He said the best response would be to ensure it does not happen.
Meanwhile, he said the army has been given orders to neutralise infiltrators trying to enter India.
“I can only say that anyone trying to infiltrate will be neutralised,” he said.
He also aid that a terrorist who comes with a gun cannot be lectured on human rights. However, the Minister added that instructions have been given to take precaution that there is no “collateral damage” and that no Indian soldiers die.
“Take precaution there is no collateral damage. Don't touch civilians,” he said.
Asked what has changed from the previous government's tenure, the minister said, “Porosity on borders is less; intelligence has improved.”
Parrikar also said he will stand by the army at any cost if they are right.
Terming Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to China as "positive", Parrikar said no proper demarcation of international border leads to problems. "But it is not a matter of great tension... It will be resolved though talks," he added.
On one-rank-one-pension scheme, the minister said he cannot give the date for announcing the scheme, but added that the proposal is now with the Finance Ministry.
The Defence Minister also said he would submit his proposal regarding Chief of Defence Staff by the end of next month which would push forward seamless integration of India's defence forces which was need of the hour.
Talking about future of India's defence forces, Parrikar said: "We are striving to create a more efficient force which may not be necessarily big. We need to spend more on 'effective' personnel."
"In long term, India should have a slightly trimmer but more efficient and better equipped force. We need to create capabilities to meet our future needs. India can have territorial type of structure which can be scaled up in case of emergency."