Govt committed to resolve issues with Pak, China:Antony

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Kochi, Nov 2: Stressing the importance of having friendly relations with neighbouring countries, Defence Minister A K Antony today said the Centre was taking initiatives to amicably resolve all outstanding issues with China and Pakistan.Speaking to newspersons after the Coast Guard Investiture Ceremony here, Mr Antony said ''We do not want confrontation with any country and were trying to solve the issues, but problems persist with both the countries.'' The Minister said the Indo-Sino border dispute had not been solved as there was no officially demarcated border between the two countries. '' They have their own perception about the border and we have our own perceptions,'' he added.

''If some thing serious happens, we have mechanism at the security force and diplomatic levels to find a solution,'' he noted.

Mr Antony said serious talks were in progress between the special representatives of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Chinese Government to find an amicable solution to the long-standing border dispute.

The eleventh round of talks between the two sides were over and they would continue, he said.

On Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Antony said even though the insurgent violence had decreased by almost 50 per cent, the worrying factor was the ongoing instrusion of militants from across the border.

He said after discussions with the State Government and against the backdrop of decrease in violence, it was decided to vacate all forces stationed near schools, hospitals and guest houses by November 30. '' This was a step-by-step effort by the Centre to bring normalcy to the valley,'' he added.

The Minister said there was no time-frame to withdraw Border Security Force(BSF) from the valley and a committee under the Defence Secretary was reviewing the situation.

Mr Antony reiterated the importance of modernising the armed forces as all countries especially the neighbouring countries were also engaged in similar exercise. '' Modernising the armed forces was necessary, but it should not be at the expense of transparency,'' he added. Mr Antony said efforts were on to commission the Ezhimala Naval Academy in Kannur, which would be one of the largest in Asia, by January 2009.

When asked on the development of Kerala, the Minister said the Centre would consider granting permission to build an airport at Kannur in the immediate future.

He said all efforts should be taken for the completion of the Vallarpadam project, which would take the State's growth trajectory northwards.

Earlier, Mr Antony presented medals to 11 Coast Guard personnel for their meritorious service.

He presented President's Tatrakshak Medals to Inspector General Rajendra Singh and Commandant Ganti Mahapatra Sreenivas.

Tatrakshak Medals (Gallantry) were given to Deputy Commandant Amet Satish Korgaonkar, Pradhan Naviks Bhagaban Padhiari and Rajesh Kumar and Uttam Navik Rajiv Kumar Yadava.

Deputy Inspector General Kunwar Pal Singh, Commandant Sanjay Aryavir, Pradhan Adhikari Sankanarayanan Raman and Sahayak Engineer V Sunil Kumar were given Tatrakshak Medals (Meritorious).

The function was attended by Defence Secretary Vijay Singh, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief S K Dalme, Commander Coast Guard Western Region Inspector General A Rajendran, among others.

UNI

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