India strengthening border security for any eventuality: Antony

February 2nd, 2010 - 8:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Feb 2 (IANS) India is strengthening its security in the border areas, including in Arunachal Pradesh, to meet any eventuality or external threat, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said Tuesday.
“We are strengthening our security set-up in all border areas, including Arunachal Pradesh, which is an integral part of India,” Antony told reporters here on the margins of a defence function.

Ruling out militarisation of Arunachal Pradesh, the defence minister asserted that the security apparatus was being strengthened not to confront anyone but to ensure preparedness and maintain extra vigil in the forward areas.

“Our considered policy is to be friendly with all our neighbours. At the same time, our armed forces are always ready to meet any eventuality from any quarter,” Antony said after witnessing a flying display of the Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) prototypes, including a trainer variant.

Reiterating that Arunachal Pradesh was very much a part of India, Antony said the security capability in the northeast was also being enhanced to increase the deterrence capacity. China disputes the ownership of Arunachal Pradesh and there have been persistent reports of incursions by its soldiers into the state.

For internal security, Antony said the armed forces could be deployed only as a last resort as law and order was the primary duty of the state police and paramilitary forces.

“As a policy, we are not for deploying the armed forces for internal security as they are meant to protect our borders. They will do everything even at the cost of sacrificing their lives to guard our forward areas. They also help in rescue and relief operations in times of natural calamities or emergencies,” Antony pointed out.

Clarifying that tackling internal security must be the responsibility of the state governments and the paramilitary forces could be deployed to help them, the minister said armed forces could be used only as a last resort.

“In many states, the state police machinery is being geared up to meet the reality. Even in Jammu and Kashmir, the state police is enhancing its capability to maintain law and order and restore peace in the state,” Antony noted.

Assuring all-out support in tackling the internal security problems from terrorist elements, insurgents and Maoists, Antony said the central government would help the state governments in rushing paramilitary forces and sophisticated equipment, as also finances.

“Ultimately, as a last, last and last resort, we will uses armed forces for tackling internal security,” he added.

On defence acquisitions, Antony said the ministry had spent more funds this year than last year to equip the armed forces with the latest equipment.

“We have spent highest percentage of funds for defence acquisitions this fiscal (2009-10) so far. It is more compared to what we spent in the last fiscal (2008-09),” Antony asserted.

Noting that there were no budgetary constraints for defence purchases, the minister said the government would spend more in the ensuing fiscal and subsequently to modernise the armed forces and provide them with the best of arms and ammunition.

On India Inc’s demand for a rolling defence budget to avoid surrendering unspent allocations, Antony said as a policy, any ministry, including his did not have the power to roll the grants allocated for a year to the next year.

“The government took a decision not to have a rolling budget, which also applies to defence ministry. Compared to previous years, we have spent a lot more on acquisitions. We will have the final figure in the first week of April,” he added.

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