Wednesday, May 5, 2010

54 PoWs in Pak jails: Union External Affairs Minister SM Krishna

Union External Affairs Minister SM Krishna today said that as per available information 54 prisoners of war (PoW) are believed to be languishing in Pakistani jails after 1971 while 20 defence personnel are missing.

In a reply to a query by Ludhiana MP Manish Tewari in Parliament, Krishna said a tri-service committee under the Defence Ministry had been formed to look into the matter, which had been repeatedly raised with Pakistan through various diplomatic channels.

Notably, a delegation of the relatives of these PoWs also visited 10 jails in Paki- stan in June 2007. However, physical presence of any Indian PoWs could not be conclusively confirmed. Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force would get more airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft over the next 15 years or so.

Presently, only three such AWACS have been contracted, two of which have been delivered while the third was slated for delivery in December, Defence Minister AK Antony said in the Rajya Sabha today. Also, the Defence Research and Development Organisation is developing an indigenous AWACS, Antony said.

Separately, Uttar Pradesh, as per a Home Ministry report tabled in the House, has been found to be the topper in the recovery of illegal arms in 2009. Of the 13,351 weapons seized across the country, 8,094 were found in UP alone. Illegal weapons were also recovered in Delhi (298), Haryana (215), Punjab and Rajasthan (196 each) and Uttarakhand (347).

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