Antony asks people to be vigilant to defend our interests, values

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New Delhi, Sept 15 (UNI) Stressing the need to be on constant vigil and preparedness to defend ''our vital interests and values'', Defence Minister A K Antony today accused 'neighbouring states' for harbouring sanctuaries to armed groups that carry out terror activities across India.

Speaking at a seminar on 'Indian Experience in Force Projection', Mr Antony said, ''some of our neighbours were seriously afflicted by terrorism, which was a cause for concern'' and added, ''This is further aggravated when that terrorism spills over into India, through state sponsorship or otherwise.'' The real threats to international security would arise from states that would avoid interdependence, particularly with neighbours, and from non-state actors like the Taliban and LTTE, he elaborated.

Pointing that the world has changed drastically in the last century, the Defence Minister said the comfort offered by national boundaries no longer constitute effective defence.

''The long-term challenge for India, as indeed for every other major nation, is its ability and willingness to contribute to international peace and stability,'' he said adding that India's growing integration with the world economy imposes its own responsibilities on our defence forces.

''With a long and distinguished record in UN peace-keeping operations to our credit India has demonstrated her commitment and willingness.'' And this ability will, no doubt, rise with time and with our own economic growth, he said and added that ''our quick response to the Asian Tsunami, the Myanmar earthquake and evacuation of Indians from Lebanon and other parts of West Asia, demonstrated India's ability to respond to a crisis anywhere in the world.'' UNI AN BDP HS1539

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