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India fully capable of defending itself: Antony

October 18, 2012 15:34 IST

India has strengthened its military power since the 1962 China-Indian war and is now fully capable of defending itself, Defence Minister A K Antony said on Thursday.

"Infrastructure in the northeast is not up to our satisfaction but it has improved a lot as compared to the past. India of 2012 is not India of that period. We are now capable of defending every inch of our country," he told reporters on the sidelines of a conference of the Indian Navy.

He was replying to a question on India vis-a-vis China 50 years after the 1962 war, in which India had suffered a humiliating defeat.

Antony said earlier India had not focussed on enhancing infrastructure in northeastern states but "now we have moved very fast. Now our infrastructure, assets and manpower have substantially improved compared to the past."

The defence minister said India will continue to build its infrastructure and provide best equipment to its armed forces while continuing to its dialogue with China on the border issue and maintaining cordial relations with it.

"On the one side, we are strengthening our capability in the border. On the other side, we have established a border management mechanism with China that is now functioning satisfactorily," he said.

On cyber security, Antony said though India is a "latecomer" in terms of putting up a mechanism in this regard, there was an overall coordination within the government and "we are confident of protecting our cyber assets."

"Even though we are a latecomer in putting a mechanism and network for strengthening our cyber security, now we are moving very fast," Antony said.

"Within the armed forces, they have a unified approach on the one side and each service is tasked to certain particular activities in area of cyber security. There is a coordinated effort and all agencies have to work together," he said.

On the issue of requirement of choppers in the Navy, the defence minister said, "There is some shortage (of helicopters) and they (navy) are in the process of overcoming that also."

Earlier this week, three naval personnel were killed when their ageing Chetak helicopter crashed while landing at an air base in Goa. The navy has recently issued a tender to replace its fleet of old choppers.

On the issue of help being provided to the families of the personnel killed in the crash, the defence minister said, "Whatever maximum possible help is permissible under the law would be provided to them. My sympathies are with their families."

On priority areas of the commanders' conferences, Antony said their main purpose is to strengthen overall operational readiness of the armed forces.

"For that we have to review our position, strength and weaknesses, find solutions and move forward," he said.

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