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Infiltration down by 40 p.c.: Army Chief

By Our Staff Reporter

CHENNAI DEC. 6. Infiltration of militants along the India-Pakistan border has declined by over 40 per cent due to the Army's enhanced vigil, the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. S. Padmanabhan, said today. He was talking to mediapersons after inaugurating a modern military hospital here.

On the Russian President, Vladimir Putin's remarks that the infiltration was still high and continuing, Gen. Padmanabhan said the Army would take the comments seriously, for they had come from a tall leader of a responsible country.

He brushed aside questions on the reported `Kargil-type' occupation of Indian territory by Pakistan as `rubbish' and said that it was high time people came out of their `Kargil fixation'. Conceding that an Indian peak was under Pakistan occupation for a while, he said the "occupiers were thrown out" within three days.

Gen. Padmanabhan expressed total satisfaction over the pace and manner in which troops and heavy equipment were deployed along the border and also over the redeployment, when the border tension had eased. Commending the Indian Railways for its efficient supportive role, he expected the redeployment exercise to be completed by the year-end.

Asked about the Naval Chief's recent opinion that limited nuclear arsenal should be entrusted with the Navy, Gen. Padmanabhan said it was an excellent idea.

Earlier, dedicating the hospital complex to the nation, he said it was fulfilment of a "dream". He emphasised the need to have up-to-date medical facilities such as the CT scan at the hospital so that it could emerge as a referral centre for the entire zone.

General A.S. Jamwal, GOC ATNKK&G Area, said the hospital had tied up with major healthcare providers for telemedicine facilities and it would boost the medical facilities available to the service personnel as well as ex-servicemen and their families in the region.

Brig. K.S. Rampuria, Chief Engineer, Chennai zone, said the complex would become fully functional within three months.

Designed by the Army engineers, the entire facility is trolley and wheel chair-friendly.

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