25 May 2009
New Delhi: A.K. Antony Monday took charge as defence minister for the second time amid increasing security concerns in the country's neighbourhood and cited infrastructure development in the northeast and border areas, modernisation of the armed forces and welfare of the troops as his priority.
"Security scenario around India is getting more and more challenging. Developments around us is a cause of concern to us. So eternal vigilance is must for us," Antony said after assuming office, referring to the instability and violence in neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
"Further strengthening of the security apparatus around us is the priority of my ministry," Antony said, further underscoring the need for strengthening land-border security, air defence and coastal security.
"To meet these challenges India needs to push modernisation of armed forces. Modernisation does not mean only procuring of equipments. Along with that training of the armed forces is also important," he added.
He said his ministry had taken note of the rapid development of infrastructure by China on its side of the border.
"Infrastructure development in northeast and other border areas, modern equipments in coastal area is more important and will require fast track procurement," he said.
Talking about China, Antony said India not only needed to maintain but improve its relations with its northern neighbour.