New Delhi, Nov 10: Underscoring the need to develop stronger defence capablities to safeguard the interests of the country in the face of its growing stature, Defence Minister A K Antony today said with India establishing itself on the centrestage of international politics, it would now be looked upon to play an increasingly significant role in ensuring peace and stability in the immediate, extended neighbourhood and in the Asian region.
Addressing a defence function here, Mr Antony said,'' With our growing stature, the need of the hour is to develop stronger capabilities to safeguard our interests. In this scenario, we have to ensure that our security apparatus is well-equipped to deal with various challenges effectively.'' He said the changing dynamics of the security situation called for eternal vigil and a continuous review and reform of the country's security apparatus. The need of the hour is to undertake specialised research into evolving geo-political developments, inter-state relations and monitor and analyse the latest developments in ''our neighbourhood''.
'' Our security forces face several challenges. Though traditional threats do exist, there are little chances of a conventional war breaking out. However, there may be scattered incidents of localised skirmishes, border incursions, civil strife, maritime or other potential threats,'' he pointed out.
He said besides traditional threats, there were unconventional threats and terrorism with its global networks, financing and support from various quarters was one such challenge.
''Increasingly, terrorism is being outsourced to local criminals and miscreants to hide the real source of its origin. Insurgents supported by external forces, propagating extremist ideologies result in irregular, but long-drawn out warfare,'' he added.
He also drew attention to 'disruptive threats' -- also known as cyber warfare-- which he said have come about due to changes in technology.
''A few nations are believed to be providing training to a large numbers of hackers to attack highly intricate and networked systems. The aim of these cyber attacks is to disrupt functioning of government agencies, gain illegal access to sensitive information and breaking into banking system,'' he warned.
The Defence Minister also called for better preparations to deal with challenge posed by Weapons of Mass Destruction, saying,'' These weapons could be nuclear, radiological, biological and even chemical.
The access of terrorists to such technologies and materials could make the situation worse.''