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China far ahead in economy: George

George Fernandes said China is 2.5 times ahead of India in economic field and called for necessary steps at different levels to surpass Beijing.

india Updated: Jun 19, 2003 13:10 IST

Defence Minister George Fernandes on Saturday said China is 2.5 times ahead of India in economic field and called for necessary steps at different levels to surpass Beijing.

"India and China both attained independence almost at the same time but China is 2.5 times ahead of us in economic field," Fernandes, who recently visited Beijing, said addressing an impressive passing out parade at the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehra Dun.

The minister said some steps in all spheres, including economic field, have to be taken so that India would remain ahead of China.

"Only then the 21st century can belong to India, Fernandes, the first Defense Minister to visit IMA in 38 years, said.

Stating that process of modernization of army was on, he claimed that it (Army) never possessed so much strength and strategic materials before. "In present circumstances, no country can even think of doing any harm to India," he added.

Congratulating the newly commissioned Army officers on their successful completion of training, Fernandes said they were privileged to join the world's third largest army, in terms of numbers.

"But as per the standards of talent honesty and courage, the Indian army stands first in the world," he added.

The Defence Minister also gave away the sword of honour for best all round cadet from regular course to battalion under officer Antony Joseph, who also received bronze medal for standing third in order of merit.

First Published: Jun 14, 2003 16:39 IST