AK Antony on Monday said the government was "examining the pros and cons" of deploying the army in anti-Naxal operations. But, he made it clear that no decision had yet been taken.
The Defence Minister, after reviewing the passing out parade of the National Defence Academy's 118th batch, said, "the armed forces will also accept whatever decision the government takes" and implement it with "vigour and commitment".
He denied reports that there are more than one voices in the Cabinet over the use of air power. "There is no split mandate ... The issue of the use of armed forces ... will be discussed threadbare."
In the past, cabinet ministers and senior cabinet leaders have spoken in different voices over combating the Naxal problem. Home Minister P Chidambaram, who is for the use of air force in the operation, said he has "limited mandate". Congress leader Digvijay Singh, however, criticised Chidambaram's handling of the problem.
Hinting at the country's border row with China in the northeast, Antony said India will not take another country's land. "Indians don't want even an inch of land from others, but at the same time, we will protect every inch of our land. We have no other ambitions," said Antony.
The government, he said, has no plans to increase deployment of armed forces in the Valley.
Against the backdrop of allegations of Army personnel being involved in fake encounters in Kashmir, Antony said the government would not tolerate human rights violation. "The government has a policy of zero tolerance on the issue of human rights violation in the state and there will be no cover-ups to shield the guilty," he said.
After the Mumbai terror strike, said Antony, the government has been taking care to step up land, air and coastal security. "India is becoming an arena for international terror operations. But to tackle this problem, the armed forces are ready."