M A I N   N E W S

Will thwart attack on Arunachal: Antony
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, February 2
Defence Minister AK Antony today said the armed forces were ready to repulse any attack on Arunachal Pradesh from across the border.

The northeastern state, which saw a full-blown war between India and China in 1962, continues to remain at the centre of border dispute between the two nuclear-powered neighbours. Beijing has time and again not hesitated to stake a claim over the territory despite an overwhelming majority of Arunachalis strongly supporting its union with India.

Addressing a press conference at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) airfield here, the Defence Minister said the military preparedness was being strengthened across the country, including Arunachal Pradesh. “We want friendly relations with our neighbours. But in case of any eventuality, the armed forces were ready to act as an effective deterrent,” Antony said.

The minister was there to witness a flying display by Tejas — an indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA) developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment. Two aircraft — one a single-seater and the other a training variant with tandem seating arrangement — took to the skies, showcasing their prowess. While the trainer (prototype vehicle 5 or PV-5) confined itself to routine flying, the single-seater (limited series production 2 or LSP-2) performed some breathtaking aerobatics, including reverse flying. Antony said he was expecting the LCA to get initial operational clearance by the end of the year and final operational clearance by 2012.

The IAF had already placed orders for 20 Tejas LCAs, he said, adding that the Defence Acquisition Council had cleared a proposal for acquiring of 20 more LCAs.



Pat for J&K cops

The Defence Minister said the police force in the insurgency-affected Jammu & Kashmir was fighting terrorists better than before.“The capability of the J&K police is picking up”, said Antony. Antony said the primary duty of the armed forces was to defend the country’s borders and they were performing this duty diligently. “Calling the armed forces for internal security should be the last resort”, Antony said. He said the Centre wants to strengthen the police forces of the states so that they are able to handle the internal security in a better manner. “We have paramilitary forces to back up the state police if necessary”, Antony said.



Akash boost for IAF

The IAF will get an additional 750 medium range surface-to-air missiles, Akash, from the state-run defence behemoth Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) for its six squadrons. “A decision to place this fresh order with BEL was taken after the air force expressed satisfaction with the performance of the Akash missiles that are deployed in two squadrons,” Defence Minister A K Antony said on Tuesday. “Each squadron will get 125 missiles after BEL delivers the order,” said Antony after inaugurating the Digital Flight Control (DFC) computer facility at BEL in Bangalore.



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