Minister of state for defence Jitendra Singh, on Sunday, sought to assure the nation that the armed forces were always in a state of high alert, be it the borders with Pakistan or with China or any other country.
"Our defence forces are always ready to meet any eventuality on the borders. We have effectively checked many attempts of infiltration by armed militants in the Kashmir valley and will continue to do so," he said, while answering queries of the media here.
Asked about the recent incidents of Pakistani troops crossing the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir, the minister said that since the brutal killing of two Indian soldiers manning a border post along the LoC, the Indian troops had become "extra vigilant" and were always in a state of preparedness. Any "misadventure" of this type from across the border will be given a befitting reply and the Chief of the Army Staff too has indicated this, he said.
On reports of repeated intrusions by Chinese troops into the Indian territory, the minister said that Indian forces were on alert along the border with China.
He refused to comment on the chopper scam, saying that the CBI was inquiring into the matter. Whosoever is responsible for the scam will be brought to book, he sought to assure.
On the recent bomb blasts in Hyderabad, the minister felt that to counter such activities by militants, the intelligence network will have to be further strengthened. This is one of the biggest challenges and effective steps need to be taken in this regard, he said.
"I feel that along with the central government, states too must make coordinated efforts to strengthen the intelligence gathering system so as to preempt a militant strike. The states have the manpower to do this and along with the police, other departments must also be trained in gathering information from the general public on the movement of militants in the state," he added.
The minister, who also holds the portfolio of sports and youth affairs, also expressed concern over the rise in drug addiction in Punjab. Drugs are ruining the youth of the border state and effective measures should be taken to check this, he said, suggesting that the state government must chalk out an elaborate plan to check this menace and at the same time bring back addicts into the mainstream.
During his daylong visit, Jitendra Singh visited the Indian Air Force (IAF) base at Rajasansi, where he interacted with officers and airmen. He also visited the local NCC directorate and interacted with the cadets and officers. Besides, he met local army officers. "I interacted with officers of the army and the IAF to know their difficulties, if any," he said.
Later, the minister paid obeisance at the Golden Temple, where he was honoured with a 'siropa' at the information office of the shrine. He also visited the integrated check post (ICP) at the Attari-Wagah border to see its working and watched the retreat ceremony at the joint border checkpost at Wagah.
PYC apprises minister of drug addiction
Punjab Youth Congress (PYC) chief Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary received Jitendra on his arrival here and apprised him of the alarming rise in drug addiction in the state.
Later, in a statement issued here, Chaudhary told the minister that the state government had failed to check the drug menace as some ruling alliance leaders were patronising the drug mafia for selfish motives. He also briefed the minister about the lack of employment venues for educated youth.
Chaudhary requested the minister to come up with some concrete measures to tackle this problem. These measures should include de-addiction programmes, rehabilitation programmes and, most importantly, imposition of strict restrictions on the free flow of drugs in the state as the state government and police were "turning a blind eye" to it, he said.
According to Chaudhary, the minister assured him that he would take up the matter soon.