India not to have military alliance with any country: Antony

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New Delhi, Apr 22 (UNI) Defence Minister A K Antony today announced in the Lok Sabha that India will not have a military alliance with any country, though it will seek defence cooperation, including joint military exercises, with several countries.

''India will continue to pursue independent defence policy and seek friendly relations with all countries, especially its neighbours,'' Mr Antony said while replying to the debate on the demand for grants relating to the Defence Ministry.

The House passed by voice vote the sums sought on revenue and capital accounts relating to demands for grants.

Mr Antony said the tradition of holding joint exercises began in 1992 when joint Naval exercises, known as Malabar exercises, were held with the United States. Since then, the ambit of military exercises have been extended to several other countries. Joint exercises are now held with the US, the United Kingdom, France, Singapore, some countries in West Asia and Vietnam.

Recently, joint army exercise was held with China in that country. He said by the end of the year Chinese army personnel will come to India to have joint exercise.

Mr Antony said the purpose of joint exercise was to improve the capability of India's defence personnel.

The Minister commended the work of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for improving capability and strength of defence production and said because of that India's reliance on imports was minimal.

All the nine defence public sector undertakings are running in profit and the government does not propose to hike the cap of 26 per cent on FDI involving defence production. However, the Indian private sector has been permitted in that sector, the Minister said.

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