Defence Minister A K Antony today made it clear that India is not paranoid over China and said the relationship between the two countries is improving and getting better even though the border dispute existed.
"Nothing like that," was Antony's response to reporters' queries if the government was paranoid over China and if there were any problems or bad feelings about Beijing. Antony's categorical remarks on Sino-Indian relations comes in the backdrop of Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh's controversial remarks in Beijing last Saturday over the engagement between the two neighbours.
Interacting with mediapersons on the sidelines of a conference of Defence Accounts Controllers in New Delhi, Antony said the government had taken a conscious policy decision to maintain "very cordial and friendly" relations with all the neighbours.
"In this context, we are trying to improve our relations with all our neighbouring countries and this includes China also. All are reciprocating well," he said. Ramesh had said in Beijing last Saturday that the Home Ministry was "overly defensive" and "alarmist" in its approach towards entry of Chinese companies in India.
He was critical of the Home Ministry's decision about restrictions on allowing the import and installation of equipment from Chinese firms on the grounds that it could pose a security challenge, in the highly-sensitive telecom sector. Antony noted that Sino-Indian border dispute still existed, but the two governments had evolved mechanisms to deal with it.
"Despite these disputes, our relations are improving (with China) in all aspects. China is today our largest trading partner. Our cultural relations are improving. "Regarding my ministry, disputes are there, but military relations are improving. Our relations with China are improving and it is comparatively better and the border is peaceful," he said.
On Pakistan, Antony said India was concerned over the thriving terror camps there, but the bilateral talks between the two sides would continue. "Still, more than 40 terror camps are working across the border and remain intact. It is a matter of concern to us. On that, Pakistan should take action to dismantle the terrorist outfits. That apart, dialogue will continue. Pakistan must take sincere and strong action to dismantle terrorist outfits."