Ev­ery pos­si­ble step will be taken to safe­guard our in­ter­ests: Antony


De­scrib­ing the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion in Eastern Ladakh as “not one of our cre­ations,” the De­fence Min­is­ter A.K. Antony on April 30 said In­dia re­mains com­mit­ted to a peace­ful res­o­lu­tion of the sit­u­a­tion, through dia­logue within the frame­work of agree­ments. Ad­dress­ing the Uni­fied Com­man­ders’ Con­fer­ence in New Delhi, Antony, how­ever, em­pha­sised that the coun­try re­mains united in its com­mit­ment to take ev­ery pos­si­ble step to safe­guard our in­ter­ests.

“The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion is not one of our cre­ations. How­ever, we re­main com­mit­ted to a peace­ful res­o­lu­tion of the sit­u­a­tion, through mil­i­tary and diplo­matic dia­logue within the frame­work of the agree­ments for main­tain­ing peace and tran­quil­ity. At the same time, I wish to em­pha­sise that there should not be any doubt that the coun­try re­mains unan­i­mous in its com­mit­ment to take ev­ery pos­si­ble step, at all lev­els, to safe­guard our in­ter­ests.”

Antony said our bi­lat­eral re­la­tions with China are, at times, be­dev­iled by bor­der is­sues, par­tic­u­larly along the line of ac­tual con­trol (LAC). The re­cent de­vel­op­ments are no ex­cep­tion. Among the var­i­ous ini­tia­tives to safe­guard our bor­der, the thrust has been on de­vel­op­ment of our bor­der roads and ad­vance land­ing grounds.

Re­fer­ring to the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in Pak­istan, Antony said, the ca­pa­bil­ity of Pak­istani Tal­iban to strike at will at in­no­cent pub­lic and strate­gic tar­gets is wor­ri­some. He said the grow­ing nu­clear stock of Pak­istan needs to be fac­tored in our over­all strat­egy to­wards our western neigh­bour.

Antony re­it­er­ated the govern­ment’s strong com­mit­ment to the mod­erni­sa­tion of the armed forces and to en­sure the all-round wel­fare of the troops. De­spite fi­nan­cial con­straints, funds will never be an is­sue when it comes to national se­cu­rity. “How­ever, the onus lies col­lec­tively on all of us to make the op­ti­mum use of the fi­nan­cial re­sources with all the hon­esty, trans­parency and fairnes.

Dwelling at length on the re­cent changes in the De­fence Pro­cure­ment Pro­ce­dure (DPP) to en­cour­age the in­dige­nous de­fence in­dus­try, Antony said the ob­jec­tive is to bring about greater ef­fi­ciency in the pro­cure­ment process and to strengthen the de­fence man­u­fac­tur­ing base in the coun­try. He ex­pressed con­fi­dence that the changes brought about in the DPP will lead to greater in­tegrity and trans­parency in the pro­cure­ment process. “We should not give any chance to any agency to point fin­gers at our de­fence pro­cure­ment process and ac­qui­si­tion.”

“The con­tem­po­rary con­cept of se­cu­rity en­com­passes not merely mil­i­tary threats, but also cyber at­tacks, in­sur­gen­cies, or­gan­ised trans-bor­der crimes, pan­demics and con­tin­gen­cies of nat­u­ral dis­as­ters. Such an en­vi­ron­ment of se­cu­rity ne­ces­si­tates need for con­stant mon­i­tor­ing and build­ing up ca­pac­i­ties to en­able mul­ti­level, multi-agency re­sponses.”

The con­fer­ence was at­tended among oth­ers by the Min­is­ter of State for De­fence, Ji­ten­dra Singh, the Chair­man COSC and Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Mar­shal N.A.K. Browne, Chief of Army Staff, Gen­eral Bikram Singh, Chief of the Naval Staff, Ad­mi­ral D.K. Joshi and De­fence Sec­re­tary, Shashikant Sharma.

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