Defence Minister A. K. Antony on Wednesday said “violent disturbances” in India’s neighbourhood pose a security challenge to the country and the government was committed to rapidly modernising the Armed Forces to meet the challenge.

Inaugurating the Aero India 2011, South Asia’s top air show that took off at Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bangalore, Mr. Antony said India’s democratic credentials and a fast growing economy have convinced the world that it can play a responsible and a stabilising role in the region.

Noting that India has always been a votary of peace, he said, “Yet, violent disturbances in our immediate and extended neighbourhood pose security challenges for our nation and the region as a whole.”

“Our government is steadfast in its resolve to meet any challenge. We are, therefore, committed to ensure rapid modernisation of our Armed Forces and equip them with state-of-the-art systems, equipment and platforms.”

Mr. Antony said, “Our current defence expenditure — 2.5 per cent of its GDP, is consistent with our projected security requirements and is bound to increase over the next two decades”.

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