Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Monday said the move to raise two Mountain Divisions in the northeast was not against China but was part of the overall policy to strengthen the presence of the armed forces in the region. “We are not a war-mongering country. We are peace loving. We do not want an inch of soil from any country and will protect every inch of our country…,” he said in reply to a question at a press conference here.
The armed forces were being strengthened to act as a deterrent and the policy was not country-specific, he said.
Asked about the rationale of clearing purchase of helicopters for VVIP travel while turning down the Indian Air Force choice to procure mid-air refuelling planes, Mr. Antony said the Finance Ministry did not accord consent for mid-air tankers. Its consent must be obtained before the issue was taken up by the Cabinet Committee on Security. Moreover, the Special Protection Group and the IAF were pressing for VVIP helicopters in view of the changed security scenario. At present, the IAF uses MI-17/18 for such roles.
Mr. Antony, who earlier inaugurated DEFEXPO 2010, expressed satisfaction with the growth of the exhibition and the level of Indian participation, and said this showed that the domestic industry in the sector was becoming confident and prepared to compete internationally.
Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju said a public version of the documents outlining the perspective and capability of the armed forces for 15 years would be published and put on the Ministry's website. This was to remove the impediment of lack of information on defence requirements.