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‘Used to such threats’: MEA downplays Al Qaeda’s warning to Army in video on Kashmir

The government Thursday downplayed calls by terror outfit Al Qaeda for “unrelenting blows” on the Indian Army in Kashmir, saying such threats are a regular occurrence and that they should not be taken seriously.

“Aisi dhamkiyaan jo hai na hum sunte rehte hain, mujhe nahi lagta inko seriously lena chahiye. (We are used to such sort of threats. I don’t think we should take them seriously),” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters.

Kumar further asserted that security forces are well equipped and capable of maintaining the territorial integrity and sovereignty. On Wednesday, Al-Qaeda chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri called for “liberating the jihad in Kashmir from the clutches of Pakistani agencies’’ and asked militants in Kashmir to focus on “unrelenting blows” on the Indian Army. In a video, ‘Don’t forget Kashmir’, posted on ‘As-Sahab’ channel, an in-house production of al Qaeda, Zawahiri also called for greater coordination between militant groups in Kashmir and global terror outfits.

Four days ago, a similar video statement was issued by Ansar Ghazwatul Hind (AGH), an al Qaeda affiliate in the Valley. Formed in 2018 by Zakir Musa after he parted ways with the Hizbul Mujahideen, the outfit’s highest cadre strength was 11 militants — most of whom have been killed. According to officials sources, the outfit currently has less than five militants.

Speaking on the Kartarpur corridor project underway between India and Pakistan, Kumar said the government wants the project to be expeditiously completed, as far as infrastructure is concerned.

“Work on 2 important aspects, on state of the art passenger terminal and on 4-lane highway which is going to connect zero point of Kartarpur Corridor to national highway are ongoing and we are hopeful that the work on these 2 projects will be completed in time, one by September 2019 and other by October 2019.”

“Reports which say that that we are slow in terms of finishing our projects are not the correct depiction,” Kumar said adding that India has taken it up with Pakistan in the past not only on infrastructure-related points, including the construction of a bridge, but also on whether there should be a bridge or a paved road but even on other aspect.

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