Beefing army presence in northeast not aimed at China: Antony

New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) Pointing out that India was not a ‘war-mongering’ nation, Defence Minister A.K. Antony Monday said that strengthening the Indian Army’s presence in the northeast was not aimed at China but to make the army an ‘effective deterrent’.

‘As a general policy we are trying to be friendly to all our neighbours. But there are problems. With China too we are trying to improve relations. In many areas they are improving, but there is a long-pending border dispute,’ the defence minister said, addressing the sixth edition of the Indian Defence Exhibition here.

‘We do not want an inch of soil from any other country. But we are particularly clear that we will protect every inch of our country. We have to equip our armed forces to act as an effective deterrent,’ said Antony.

He added that the army’s presence in the northeast is part of India’s policy to strengthen its defences.

‘It is our policy to strengthen our army’s presence in the northeast, in south Kutch etc. It is not against any country, it is to strengthen our army to act as an effective deterrent,’ said Antony.

The minister downplayed China’s non-participation in the defence exhibition.

‘Last time we invited them they were not interested so we did not invite them this time,’ said Antony.

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