Increase in ceasefire violations: NSA

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 10, 2013 15:04 hrs

New Delhi, Jan 10 (IBNS) National Security Advisor (NSA) Shivshankar Menon on Thursday said there has been an increase in ceasefire violations by Pakistan over the last one year.

Speaking to media after BRICS Meeting of High Representatives on National Security here, Menon said: "There has been an increase in ceasefire violations. There been an increase in infiltration attempts, not only in the last few months."

"In 2012 there was an increase overall over 2011. That is a fact. And that is something we are dealing with, both ourselves and with the Pakistani authorities," he said.

Reacting to the recent killings of two Indian Army jawans by the Pakistani Army in Jammu and Kashmir, the NSA said: "I think it is quite clear. Government has said what it has to say on the event. You have a selection of adjectives - reprehensible, barbaric, dastardly, whatever you want."

"Sadly, it is not the first time this has happened. I hope it never happens again," he said.

Transcript of NSA´s media briefing:

Official Spokesperson (Shri Syed Akbaruddin): Good afternoon friends and thank you very much for being present here for this media interaction.

Since this was the first time that the High Representatives for Security of the BRICS nations are meeting here in New Delhi, we had requested the National Security Advisor to brief you about the concept as well as the discussions that he had today with his counterparts. Along with the NSA we have the Deputy National Security Advisor Ms. Vijaya Latha Reddy and, further to NSA's left, Secretary (ER) Mr. Pinak Chakrabarti.

I would now request the NSA to make his opening remarks and then the floor is open for questions.

National Security Advisor (Shri Shivshankar Menon): Thank you Akbar.

We have just concluded the meeting of the National Security Advisors or High Representatives responsible for national security, as we are also called, of BRICS countries. We were honoured to host this meeting; and I must thank all my colleagues in the BRICS for having made this a very successful meeting.

The BRICS NSA's have actually been meeting since 2009. We first met as a group to prepare the Yekaterinburg summit of BRICS leaders which was the first summit of BRICS leaders. But this is the first time that we are doing a standalone meeting of the NSAs. We met after that as well by the way. We met on the sidelines of Sanya; we met on the sidelines of other summits; in Brazil as well. But this is the first standalone meeting as such. We did this because in the Delhi Summit in March we were asked to meet and to look at issues of common concern, and to look at the international situation.

Over time, as you know, the BRICS itself as a platform has grown both in significance and in the nature of the dialogue and the work that we do together. It started of primarily looking at economic issues, at economic cooperation. Over time those consultations and the work that we do has grown considerably. It is natural given the kind of similar interests that we have as emerging economies that national security issues should also come on to the agenda and become an important element. So, what we really used the meeting for was to consult, to coordinate, and to see where we can cooperate on some of these issues.

We discussed how the BRICS - which today account for 43 per cent of the world's population, around one quarter of the world's GDP - of how we can work together for global peace, for stability, for development, and how BRICS could be a factor of stability and growth. I think it is clear that when you look at the world economy and the condition it is in, much of the growth in the economy is actually coming from emerging economies, from what are called developing countries.

Today, most of our discussions actually concentrated on the important regional and global developments. Naturally West Asia and North Africa was a very large part of what we discussed - Syria, Libya, Male. We also discussed ways to enhance our cooperation and coordination in issues like cyber security, terrorism, piracy and other such threats to international security.

We looked at ways to increase coordination and cooperation among us as BRICS on these issues. We each have strong and healthy relationships with each of the other BRICS countries. Those are bilateral. But what we looked at today was how we as BRICS, as a collective, could do something about these issues.

Discussions throughout were constructive, positive, forward looking. There was a high level of congruence in our discussion of these issues. We found it very useful, in fact useful enough that at the end everyone said we must do this again. That gives you an idea of how successful the participants thought it was.

In one sense what we were doing will feed into the preparations for the Durban Summit at the end of March which will be the summit of BRICS leaders and which will be the fifth summit in the first cycle of leaders' summits. Starting in Yekaterinburg we have done it in each of the other countries.

We also had some discussion of what we expect from the Durban Summit. The South African side briefed us about their preparations for it which are well on track and going very well. Much of what we discussed we will report back to our own leaders and then we hope it feeds into what they do at Durban.

I will stop there and maybe leave it open to questions.

Official Spokesperson: Since the NSA has spoken about a vast canvas, we will focus on those issues that he has spoken on first and then we will have questions, if there is time left, on other issues.

Question: Sir, you spoke about issues of national security which came up during the BRICS summit. Could you give us some details on what kind of national security issues came up particularly with reference to India?

National Security Advisor: I told you, terrorism, piracy, cyber security, these were all national security issues, and some of the threats that come out of the situation, the turmoil in West Asia and in North Africa.

Question: ...(Inaudible)... take the opportunity ... BRICS NSAs about what happened between India and Pakistan, the mutilation of the soldiers?

National Security Advisor: No, I did not.

Question: Why not?

National Security Advisor: I do not expect BRICS to do something about it.

Question: Sir, is there any kind of a joint mechanism that is likely to be set up among the BRICS countries to deal with the national security issues? We have many working groups with other countries. Is there any kind of a joint effort or joint mechanism that you are thinking of to deal with the security issues?

National Security Advisor: The way BRICS has worked so far is, we have had occasional meetings of National Security Advisors. When we have a particular issue that we want to develop, that we think that many of us or all of us feel that we need to work on, we set up ad hoc working groups, expert groups and so on. That is how for instance we develop the idea of a BRICS bank for infrastructure development which now seems almost ripe, which will be coming to the Durban.

Today when we discussed these issues which I have mentioned to you, in many of them the other NSAs felt that these are worth carrying forward in expert level discussions. So, what we will try and do now is we will actually see where we can set up groups, which issues there is enough traction in. It is a continuous process. It is not meeting to meeting. We have Sherpas, in fact that is why Secretary (ER) is our BRICS Sherpa, we have Su Sherpas who stay in touch with each other. They will make sure that this process continues.

When you ask if there is a permanent mechanism, I am not quite sure how to answer it. As we have a job to do, we will have a mechanism. And we agreed that we will meet again as well. But we did not say we will meet every month on the second Tuesday or fix a date and time. Nothing like that.

Question: Security situation in Syria is deteriorating rapidly. Have you specifically discussed this issue and evolved a common position on Syria?

National Security Advisor: We had a fairly detailed discussion on it. I hope I reflect the sense of the discussion correctly when I say that it was quite clear that all of us felt that it is for the Syrian people to choose their future; the international community can only be a facilitator. Secondly, we thought that the deterioration in the situation and the increasing violence was something of great concern to all of us, also, the rise in extremist and terrorist forces in the region and in Syria itself which seems to be increasing over time. Our own feeling was that what is needed is that a political process which actually tries to include all Syrians in it is what is required. There are no military solutions to this kind of a problem. There was a detailed discussion on it.

Question: Sir, the question of cyber security sounds very important. How do you and your colleagues see the cooperation of BRICS countries in this question? Did you discuss any mechanism on this cooperation?

National Security Advisor: I think many of us felt that, in fact there were many ideas on cyber security because each of our countries is in the process of putting in place their own systems for cyber security. Whether it is India, China, each of us is in the process of putting in place regulations, structures, organizations to deal with this. So, there was a fairly detailed discussion of that. We all had many ideas actually on how the BRICS could cooperate to do this, whether it is exchanging best practices, whether it is putting our emergency response teams in touch with each other, whether it is dealing with cyber crime. So, we went through it in some detail and there were many good ideas on the table which now we will carry forward as we continue to discuss it as I said in this Su Sherpa process. But it is obviously an issue which bothers all of us. The more networked we get and the more of our citizens who use and depend upon the Internet and social media, the more concern there is about that it be safe, secure and healthy.

Question: Did you have any bilateral discussion with Chinese NSA?

National Security Advisor: We are meeting tomorrow. Most of us are doing bilateral discussions on the sidelines. Some have taken place, some will happen tomorrow, some just after this.

Question: Will you discuss border talks?

National Security Advisor: We will discuss our whole relationship.

Question: The next meeting of the Special Representatives?

National Security Advisor: All that. Let us meet first.

Question: What do you think of Pakistan's suggestion that UNMOGIP should investigate the January 8 incident on the LoC?

National Security Advisor: UNMOGIP still exists? I thought they do not have a role.

Question: CBMs across LoC are unraveling and new rules of engagement are called for. Do you think that Pakistan is trying to make ...(Inaudible)...

National Security Advisor: If you want to make a statement, come and sit here and make it. Do not put words in my mouth.

Question: Can we come back to BRICS...(Inaudible)...

National Security Advisor: Thank you for doing that.

Question: But is there something conclusive coming out of this meeting which we can tell the people?

National Security Advisor: As I said, if you look at the nature of the BRICS process, it started off as an idea originally as BRIC, of four emerging economies, and as an economic concept. The first few meetings were at lower levels where we discussed how we could cooperate in economic fields. That bore some fruit. As that bore fruit, it was raised to the level of the Foreign Ministers. Finally the leaders met in 2009. That process itself took five years. By that time the agenda had grown to cover not just bilateral economic or multilateral economic cooperation but also the global economic situation, issues of global governance, issues of political significance. When you came to the Sanya meeting of the leaders for instance there was a large section expressing views on political developments in the international situation. The first reference to what was happening in West Asia was in Sanya in 2010.

Slowly the ambit of what BRICS has worked on has grown. I think it has resulted in some concrete cooperation measures. There are networks of course of think tanks, there are exchanges at various levels between various BRICS countries. But I think the most concrete suggestion that is now on the table is the one for a development bank or a BRICS bank for infrastructure.

If you ask us on the national security side, it has been in a growing field of cooperation. As I said, we already have strong bilateral cooperation in this field whether it is India-Russia, India-China, India-Brazil, India-South Africa. The question is what we as a group can do on issues. Cyber security for instance is an issue which no individual country or no two countries can actually deal with just on their own. So, there is a long list of things that we think we should be looking at as BRICS. But if you ask me today what have you done, I will say what we have done is take another step forward on this rather long road which we will keep walking on. And everybody who was there in the room at the end thought it had been very useful and very positive.

Question: Mr. Menon, I understand and appreciate your statement that you do not expect BRICS to do anything on this LoC incident. But during your standalone meeting and during your bilaterals, did any of the BRICS NSAs broach the topic with you? Did you happen to brief them, and what is your own assessment of the situation?

National Security Advisor: Simple answer. No.

Question: ...(Inaudible)... to you here. We saw the Foreign Office's statement yesterday on the LoC incident. My question is, whether there is any ...(Inaudible)... in the Government about ...(Inaudible)... There is some speculation that is going around.

National Security Advisor: All this is speculation. You have heard what the Foreign Minister said. He has made it quite clear that he is not jumping to any conclusions at this moment. So, I suggest you wait. After all he has been speaking to you even today. So, I think you need to at least give him more than fifteen minutes before you ask, have you reevaluated, have you changed policy again.

I think it is quite clear. Government has said what it has to say on the event. You have a selection of adjectives - reprehensible, barbaric, dastardly, whatever you want. Sadly, it is not the first time this has happened. I hope it never happens again. But we have also told you exactly what we intend to do. So, now I think you should let Government go about its business.

Question: ...(Inaudible)...

National Security Advisor: But you would not hear anything different from me from what he told you.

Question: Could you give us a sense of the number of increase in the ceasefire violations that have been reported especially over the last one year? And given that even during the peak winter timing it is happening, is there a sense that perhaps there are infiltration attempts happening with the possible back up cover of the Pakistan army? Or are there sections within the Pak army that are not on the same page as far as the dialogue process is concerned?

National Security Advisor: I do not speak for the Pak army. I cannot tell you what is in their mind. I can tell you what happens. There has been an increase in ceasefire violations. There been an increase in infiltration attempts, not only in the last few months. In 2012 there was an increase overall over 2011. That is a fact. And that is something we are dealing with, both ourselves and with the Pakistani authorities.

Official Spokesperson: Thank you very much. With that we come to the end of this event.

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