New Delhi: Defence Minister A K Antony
on Wednesday said India was building its defence capabilities just as
"Just as what China is doing, we are also trying to
strengthen our capabilities," Antony told reporters here 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 (LAC).
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
AN 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".
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
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."
No normalcy in Indo-Pak ties
On ties with Pakistan, he said there could
not be normalcy in its relations unless the latter took
convincing action against the perpetrators of 26/11 terror
strikes and dismantled terror camps on its soil.
"Again and again, we have been telling them that
until and unless terror camps are dismantled and Pakistan
Government takes convincing action against the people
responsible for 26/11 terror attacks, there cannot be
normalcy in our relations," Defence Minister Antony told
Asked about the increasing instances of ceasefire
violations by Pakistan in the recent past, he said, "we are
not sitting idle. To protect every inch of India, Government
and armed forces are doing their best."
Commenting on the boat tragedy in Kerala where several
people died today, he said, "the moment the Chief Minister
sought our assistance, the Navy in the area rushed there with
its aircraft and sailors and they did whatever they could and
they do it everywhere in all states."
Meanwhile, speaking at the DAD annual day function, he
said that all serving and retired personnel must get their
arrears before this Diwali.
He also urged the DAD officials to ensure fair
utilisation of revenue resources and capital spending for the