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India building defence capabilities like China: Antony

Source: PTI
October 01, 2009 20:57 IST
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Union Defence Minister A K Antony on Thursday said India was building its defence capabilities just as China did.

"Just as what China is doing, we are also trying to strengthen our capabilities," Antony told mediapersons in New Delhi on the sidelines of a defence accounts event.

In the last few years government was bolstering the infrastructure and capabilities of the three forces. "Earlier we were not doing anything," he added. Antony said in spite of "occasional troubles", the Sino-Indian border was peaceful and India wanted to resolve its issues with Beijing only through negotiations.

"We must try to understand that in spite of occasional troubles here and there, by and large the Indo-China border is peaceful," he said when asked about the increase in Chinese incursions along the Line of Actual Control.

Antony added that India's policy was to "find a solution (for its issues with China) through negotiations and on the same hand, we have increased our effective deterrent strength."

Asked about the gap between military expenditure of the two countries, Antony said it is not a question of comparing their military expenditure with ours.

"Whatever is needed to strengthen our armed forces we are doing that," Antony said.

Mentioning the steps taken to strengthen India's deterrent capabilities in the recent past, he said, "We are strengthening our army, air force, airfields, roads and infrastructure."

Questioned about the long-pending border issues with Beijing, he said, "Of course, the border issues are long pending. After many rounds of negotiations, nothing is settled yet. But, our policy is to continue the dialogue and we are trying to settle the issue through dialogue to the satisfaction of our people."

"But the last round of talks with China ended on an optimistic note," Antony added.

Commenting on Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh, Antony said, "He went there on a political visit to release the Congress manifesto."

On the problems faced by the IAF in training its cadets after the grounding of its fleet of HPT-32 basic trainer aircraft, he said, "Whatever is the air force requirement, we have decided to fulfil that."

Listing the highlights of his visit to Russia later this month, he said, "The main agenda would be that the (Intergovernmental Military Cooperation) agreement that is operational for the last 10 years and will end in 2010. We are discussing to extend that agreement by another 10 years."

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