India's military might key to its clout : Antony

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New Delhi, Oct 25 (UNI) Defence Minister A K Antony today said India's military might was a key factor to its rise as a regional and global power.

"India has bright days ahead--in the not too distant future," he said, in his closing remarks at the 12th Field Marshal K M Cariappa Memorial Lecture delivered by Punjab Governor Gen (Retd) S F Rodrigues.

Mr Antony said India had one of the world's largest professional armed forces. "Our Army is one of the finest fighting machines in the world and has proved to be effective in combating insurgency and low-key conflicts for over three decades.'' The Indin Navy had the largest presence in the Indian Ocean after the United States and fielded an aircraft carrier, which allowed it to extend its operations beyond its immediate areas of concern. "Our Air Force has already demonstrated that it can be counted among the world's best in a series of joint exercises," he said.

"We have thus, come a far way indeed, but a lot more still needs to be done. It must be our collective endeavour to ensure that our country firmly takes its place in the comity of nations," he added.

Recalling India's pre-eminent position in imparting knowledge and the contribution of Nalanda University, Mr Antony said nations that were knowledge societies would emerge as knowledge powers in the future. "We must ensure that India remains in the forefront of knowledge revolution." He said the international community was changing its perception about India. The name 'India' was no longer associated merely with magic and snake charmers. India had taken rapid strides in the fields of economy and technology. "We are committed to provide latest technology to our Armed Forces and to the extent possible-indigenously." Paying rich tributes to the memory of Field Marshal Cariappa, Mr Antony said he was not only a staunch nationalist, but also secular to the core.

Quoting Cariappa, he said, "In modern warfare, a large army is the first line of defence, the industry is the second." UNI

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