Defence Minister A. K. Antony on Monday expressed surprise at China's objection to his recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh.
“I was surprised to see such a reaction. I feel it is most unfortunate and, at the same time, it is really objectionable,'' the Minister said after inaugurating the Annual National Maritime Foundation conference here.
He underscored the fact that like Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh was an integral part of India and as Defence Minister it was both his right and duty to visit the State and all other border States.
Mr. Antony said that apart from his February 20 visit to Arunachal on its 25th year celebrations, he had been visiting the State since 1984.
His reaction comes after China said that India should refrain from taking any action that could “complicate'' the border issue. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei had “asked India to work with China to maintain peace and stability in border areas,” state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
In his inaugural address at the conference, the Minister voiced concern at the military presence of world's major powers in the Indian Ocean Region despite the waters being far from their shores.
“Unlike the Atlantic and Pacific, few major powers are geographically contiguous to its waters and yet they have maintained a certain military presence and an abiding politico-diplomatic interest in these waters,'' he said.
The net outcome was “constant turbulence of intense diplomatic activity and substantial military investments by the major powers.”
The Minister re-emphasised global efforts to uproot the threat of piracy and said New Delhi had submitted certain proposals to the United Nations.
“If ever there was a need for consensual and cooperative effort, it is in relation to piracy and India has put forward certain proposals at the United Nations.”
Talking of the role of Navy in tackling this scourge, he noted that ever since its warships joined the anti-piracy effort in the Indian Ocean Region during the last quarter of 2008, there had been a steady increase in the number of merchant ships the Indian Naval warships escorted. Eighty-five per cent of the ships the Navy escorted bore foreign flag, he said. However, piracy cases were continuing at an alarming rate.
“Clearly, the challenge of piracy is yet to be effectively quarantined. There is a consensus that while the pirates can be neutralised at sea, the real solution lies in addressing the root causes, which are complex and are actually located on land” suggesting that while “pirates are only the front, powerful people were behind them.”