'Musharraf's K-formula nothing new'
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'Musharraf's K-formula nothing new'

Defence Minister Antony brushes aside Pak president's agenda for Kashmir resolution, reports Faisul Yaseen.

india Updated: Dec 10, 2006 20:31 IST

Defence Minister AK Antony on Sunday brushed aside Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's four-point agenda for the resolution of the Kashmir issue saying "it is not anything new".

Antony, who was on his first visit to any state after taking over as Defence Minister of the country from Pranab Mukerjee, told mediapersons at Poonch, that Islamabad had been towing the same line in the past and Musharraf's proposal was not "something new".

"They continue to abet terrorism. We want friendly relations with them, we want peace in the region and are continuing our efforts for that. More CBMs would be taken up," Antony said.

Sporting an olive green army jacket and a cap and having slipped into shoes instead of the traditional slippers he usually spots, Antony said, "Though the level of infiltration has come down, we are keeping an eye on things."

The Defence Minister also promised reforms in the lives of troops and paramilitary forces in the form of perks and better financial packages.

"Our armed forces are facing a lot of hardships, particularly in this state and in the northeast. Their lives are always under threat. They require more support from all of us and we are committed to make their living more comfortable by providing more facilities to them and giving them more benefits," he said.

Antony also informed that the committee formed to look into the spate of suicides in the armed forces would submit its report within two months and its recommendations would be implemented.

Earlier, while addressing a public gathering at Khari Kharmaravillage, which was one of the worst affected villages in the October 8, 2005 earthquake, Antony said he had understood the aspirations of the people of the region. "The Centre would extend all possible support for developing better road connectivity, communication facilities and health centres," he said.

Antony's speech that was read out in English, was translated simultaneously
in Urdu for the people of Poonch.

Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in his public address praised Antonyfor the honesty and integrity he had displayed over the years. "He is such an honest person that we call him an orthodox and conservative personality. Honesty is a virtue. But his honesty is too much," Azadsaid.

Antony, who raised his political stature from the cadre of All India Youth Congress, was elected the chief minister of Kerala at the age of 35 and has since been rendering his services both in New Delhi as well as his home state.

First Published: Dec 10, 2006 20:02 IST