War memorial issue: Antony says things progressing comfortably

New Delhi: Amid demands by the armed forces for a War Memorial in the national capital, Defence Minister A K Antony today said things were progressing in a "comfortable" manner on the issue.

However, he refused to give any deadline on it. "I can tell you that things are now progressing very well. Things are progressing very well," he told reporters on sidelines of a function to pay homage to the martyrs of defence forces on the occasion of Kargil Vijay Diwas.

Hailing the sacrifice made by jawans and officers of the armed forces, the Defence Minister said, "Not only for the forces, it is a historic day for the country as a whole. Today we are paying homage to the sacrifice made by our jawans and officers to protect the honour of the country."

Asked when a final decision will be taken on the war memorial, he said, "Don`t ask any time limit but things are progressing in a comfortable manner very well."

The three services have been raising the demand for their own War Memorial in the capital to honour their men who made the sacrifice in various wars, conflicts and militancy in Jammu and Kashmir and the North East.

Interacting with reporters after the function, the Defence Minister said he will undertake a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir beginning tomorrow and tour several forward areas there.

"Mainly my purpose is to go to forward areas to meet our jawans and officers and see the situation in the forward areas," he said, adding that he will be meeting the state Chief Minister Omar Abdullah as well.

The Defence Minister will be accompanied by the Army Chief and Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma. He will also head a meeting of Unified Headquarters in Srinagar.

On the issue of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the state, Antony refused to make any comment. "I don`t want to say anything in public on this issue," he said when asked whether it will be discussed during his meeting with Abdullah and senior state officials.