‘India concerned about China’s military spending’
New Delhi: Defence Minister AK Antony on Saturday said that India was concerned about rise in China’s military spending.
China’s military budget jumped 11.2 percent year on year to 106 billion dollars in 2012.
Addressing the Asia security summit, the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Antony said, “Even though we don`t believe in an arms race, since China has increased their military capabilities and spending more on defence, in our own way, to protect our national interest, we are also strengthening our capabilities in our borders.”
He said India is also building its capabilities to protect its national interests.
Antony said despite this, the two countries are working towards peace and stability not only in Asia but also around the world.
He gave the example of growing cooperation between India and China in anti-piracy and maritime security measures, and expressed optimism that the cooperation will evolve further in the coming years.
Japan also expressed their concern over what it called a lack of transparency in China’s massive defence spending, saying the secrecy posed a “threat” to Tokyo.
Commenting on the ongoing crisis in the Middle East, Antony said India does not believe in solving the ongoing problems in the region through confrontation or destabilization.
He said our effort is to develop close relations with the countries of the region as nearly six million people of Indian origin live there and nearly 80 percent of India’s energy requirements are sourced from there.
Antony said that contentious issues relating to maritime domain should only be “resolved through the process of dialogue, consensus building and within the framework of accepted principles of international law”.
Antony said the international community must "remain sensitive to the problems of smaller nations and ensure that their rights, as equal members of the global community, are not overlooked or compromised."
He said the spirit of cooperation among international community shown in anti-piracy measures can be extended to "de-conflict contentious maritime issues".
Antony said, unlike in the previous centuries, maritime freedoms cannot be the exclusive prerogative of a few.
"Large parts of the common seas cannot be declared exclusive to any one country or group. We must find the balance between the rights of nations and the freedoms of the world community in the maritime domain. Like individual freedoms, the fullness of maritime freedoms can be realized only when all states, big and small, are willing to abide by universally agreed laws and principles", he said.
Commenting on the South China Sea issue, Antony said, India has welcomed the efforts of the parties concerned in engaging in discussions.
"New Delhi has also welcomed the recently agreed guidelines on the implementation of the 2002 Declaration of the Conduct of Parties between China and the ASEAN. We hope that the issues will be resolved through dialogue and negotiations," he said.
Outlining India`s security concerns, Antony said it is intimately tied to the security and prosperity of the extended Indian Ocean Region, which also includes the Asia Pacific region.
Turning to piracy, Antony said the menace needs to be thwarted and suppressed by robust anti-piracy operations, as well as through speedy prosecution of the guilty.
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