Antony for dialogue, not clash with China

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New Delhi, Jun 10 (UNI) Outrightly rejecting the allegations of the Opposition that India was softening its stand on China following pressure from the Left, Defence minister A K Antony today said New Delhi wanted to settle issues with Beijing through a dialogue and not conflict.

Talking to reporters after inaugurating the two-day Unified Commanders' Conference here, Mr Antony said there was no question on compromise on national interest... ''we are not ignoring our interests,'' he added.

BJP president Rajnath Singh had alleged that the UPA government at the Centre was ignoring a series of Chinese intrusions following pressure from the Left. In reply to a poser, the minister said since we do not want a conflict, we were involved in talks (with China).

The Special Representative level talks with Beijing have entered the 11th round.

He claimed there was a national consensus on talks and it was better to find solutions through a dialogue.

Over 150 incursions into Indian territory by China's Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) troops have been reported in the last one year.

Replying to questions on cuts in the Chinese defence budget, Mr Antony said India's defence spending was not matching the economic boom that the country had witnessed in the recent past. ''Our defence budget is just 1.99 per cent of the GDP, which is one of the lowest in the world,'' he said.

UNI NAB PD CS1630

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