Defence Minister A.K. Antony has said internal security is the responsibility of State governments and use of paramilitary forces for such tasks should be the last resort.

Addressing reporters here on Tuesday, the Minister said as a policy, “we are not for deploying armed forces to tackle internal problems, and the defence forces are there for national security and to protect our borders.”

However, he added that paramilitary forces could be deployed during natural calamities, such as the recent floods in north Karnataka. Mr. Antony said several States including Jammu and Kashmir were gearing up to upgrade their respective police machinery and equipment and that the Centre was ready to provide all necessary support to strengthen them. “That is the essence of our democracy,” he said.

‘No militarising’

To a question on the Centre militarising Arunachal Pradesh, Mr. Antony said it was not true. “The Centre is strengthening the security set-up on the borders, including Arunachal Pradesh, which is an integral part of India. Strengthening security in Arunachal Pradesh is not to confront neighbours with whom we have cordial relations. However, the country has to be prepared to face any eventuality or threat from any quarter and the intention is to increase the deterrent capability,” he said.

At a function in Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL) to hand over the Naval Gun Fire Control System (GFCS) developed by BEL for the Navy, Mr. Antony said the sea was being used for transportation of weapons of mass destruction, trafficking of arms and other nefarious activities.

He urged BEL to ensure that the surveillance project for the coastline was implemented on time to help the Navy and the Coast Guard secure it.

“India’s long coastline and geographic location make high demands on the Indian Navy and Coast Guard towards safeguarding our maritime and national interests,” Mr. Antony said.

He said the armed forces would have to be ready to meet any challenge from emerging threats from our unstable neighbourhood in a situation where the threat level is increasing.

The GFCS is a state-of-the-art system that can be installed onboard the P-28 class of ships. It has a quick reaction, multi-sensor, multi-weapon, short, medium and long range defence system against air, surface and shore targets.

Mr. Antony also inaugurated a state-of-the-art integrated manufacturing facility for the assembly, inspection and testing of the Digital Flight Control Computer (DFCC) of the digital fly-by-wire flight control system of the LCA Tejas at the BEL campus.

He assured BEL trade unions that he would do his best to sort out the wage revision issue and bring the wage structure of BEL employees on par with other Navaratna defence public sector undertakings, which pay higher salaries for both executive and non-executive employees.