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Afghan, Pak epicentre of terrorism: Antony
Published on 23 Nov. 2009 11:24 PM IST
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Defence Minister AK Antony has said that Pakistan and Afghanistan have emerged as the epicentre of terrorism across the world. Delivering the keynote address at an international seminar on ‘’Changing Nature of Conflict: Trends and Responses’’, Antony said there has been an outbreak of terror-related incidents across the world, particularly in South and South-East Asia. “Various developments over the last few months in and around our neighbourhood, particularly in Pakistan and Afghanistan, have thrust South Asia to the centre-stage of sub-conventional conflict and instability”, he added. He also said that today there is hardly any nation not affected by terror and not actively involved in the War on Terror. The world has witnessed a paradigm shift in the nature of conflicts, reported ANI. “Though territory related issues retain their primacy, other issues like historical differences, ideological biases, economic disparity, religious prejudices, energy security and water shortage are no less a contributing factor”, he said. “Modern day conflicts are not merely confined to states, but have expanded to include sub-nationalities, terrorists and insurgences, religious fanatics and ethnic interest”, he added. Underlining the threat of terrorists laying hands on nuclear weapons, Antony said the consequences of such a situation are unimaginable. “The conventional Armed Forces need to maintain edge over such non-conventional players,” he said. Antony also called for more synergy among security agencies, both nationally and internationally, to tackle such threats. No deals with blacklisted firms No blacklisted armaments company will be awarded contracts unless their names are cleared by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that is probing them, parliament was informed Monday. In cases where contracts have been awarded, action would be taken on the basis of what the contract provided for, Defence minister A.K. Antony said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha. He said it had been decided that “where the tender process has already been started and where the companies mentioned in the FIR (first information report) are figuring, each case should be dealt as per the tender conditions, keeping in view the FIR in question. No tender (would) be awarded to the companies mentioned in the FIR unless the CBI investigation clears them totally”. Where the tender process has not yet started, there would be “no dealing with the companies mentioned in the FIR, till the finalization of investigation,” Antony added. Where contracts have been concluded and executed, action would be taken against the companies according to the provisions of the contract, on completion of the CBI probe, the minister said. The defence ministry had blacklisted seven firms, including Israeli Military Industries and Singapore Technology, earlier this year after allegations of their bribing Indian officials surfaced against them. The CBI had May 17 registered an FIR against former Ordnance Factory Board director general Sudipto Ghosh under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The seven companies were mentioned in the FIR. The temporary putting on hold of all contracts with the blacklisted firm has derailed the artillery modernisation programme of the Indian Army that has been hanging fire for over two decades and has been mired in controversy.

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