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Af-Pak region a continuing cause of concern: Antony

New Delhi, Mon, 16 Apr 2012 ANI

New Delhi, April 16 (ANI): Describing the situation in the Af-Pak region as a 'continuing cause of concern', Defence Minister AK Antony today called upon the top brass of the Indian Army to be vigilant and take all appropriate steps keeping in view the developments in Afghanistan in the last couple of days.Addressing the Army Commanders' Conference here, Antony said, India remains steadfast in its commitment to provide support and assistance to Afghanistan so that it evolves into a stable country, strengthened by pluralism and free from external interference.

He called upon the Defence Forces and all other Security Agencies to remain prepared to tackle the entire range of security challenges."Balancing the imperatives of engaging globally with other powers and maintaining autonomy in decision-making, is one of the most important challenges of our times," he said.

Referring to sharp increase in the defence spending by China for the modernization of its Armed Forces, Antony said on our part we will continue to bolster our infrastructure and strengthen our capabilities along the border areas."However, our efforts are focused on safeguarding our security interests and not dictated by what other nations are doing. Several of the proposals of the Army are under implementation. Some others are expected to be cleared in the days ahead. We will provide all the support to modernize and enhance our defence capabilities to successfully meet any challenge," he said.Describing the situation in Jammu and Kashmir as stable, Antony said, this is a direct consequence of the untiring efforts of the security forces.

He, however, said the peace process is extremely fragile and the Armed Forces need to operate with maximum restraint and control without dropping their guard.Turning to modernization of the Armed Forces, Antony said the Government's endeavour has been to provide the desired impetus to modernization in a systematic manner, and assured that the Government will continue to improve and fine-tune procedures whenever and wherever necessary, to ensure that the Army meets its modernization goals in an acceptable timeframe.

The Defence Minister also 'strongly urged' the Army Commanders to adhere to the highest standards of personal behaviour and professional probity in their day-to-day dealings. (ANI)

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