Shortly after taking over as defence minister for a second term, A.K. Antony said that India wanted to improve its ties with China but would equip its armed forces to decimate threats from all quarters.
Asked if China was a potent threat to India, Antony said, “India wants to maintain good relations with all neighbours. But we also have to be prepared to meet all challenges.”
This comes after Indian Air Force chief Fali Homi Major told HT on Saturday that China posed a more real and potent threat to India than Pakistan, as little was known about the Communist nation’s combat capabilities.
The minister on Monday emphasised the need to upgrade infrastructure in the country’s northeast and accelerate the military’s modernisation.
Voicing concern over instability in India’s neighbourhood, he said strengthening the national security apparatus would be his foremost priority.
In his second stint, one of his first official engagements will be to dedicate the long-awaited AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) to the nation on May 28.
The first of the three Indian Air Force’s AWACS landed at the Jamnagar airbase from Israel on Monday. Known as the air force’s ‘eye in the sky’, the AWACS is capable of detecting intruders over sea and land at large distances.
The AWACS is a tripartite venture amongst India, Russia and Israel. The IAF laid down the operational requirements in detail based on which the Israeli Phalcon radar was mounted on the Russian IL-76 aircraft. The remaining two AWACS are expected.