Defence Minister A K Antony said on Monday that negotiations are underway to have a ‘more practical and effective’ mechanism to prevent face-offs between Indian and Chinese troops on the Line of Actual Control (LoAC) and efforts are being made to have confidence building measures.
The “unfortunate face-offs” between Indian and Chinese armies take place due to difference in perception about the Line of Actual Control (LAC),he told reporters at Hindon after formally inducting the heavy-lift C-17 transport aircraft into the Indian Air Force at the air base.
Antony said that efforts are being made to have “more understanding between the two militaries. Apart from diplomatic channels,we are trying to have better understanding between the militaries.”
Besides having a greater number of border personnel meetings,there are many other CBM proposals between the two armies,he said.
Some steps have already been taken and some will be taken in future while negotiations are on to have a “more practical and effective mechanism to prevent such type of unfortunate incidents”,the Minister said.
The Army,he said,is “free” and it handles such incursion incidents effectively whenever they take place.
He was replying to questions on the incidents of face-offs between Indian and Chinese troops along the LoAC and recent video footage in that regard.
“As long as border issue is unsettled,there is a possibility of both sides going to the areas of their perception of the LAC. Even though the border is uncertain,there is understanding but there are more than a dozen disputed sites along the border,” he said.
Antony said,”Though there is an understanding,sometimes these unfortunate face-offs do take place. Whenever such incidents take place,our Army and security forces in border areas are free and they handling these incidents effectively.”
Asked if the government has cancelled a trip by IAF chief N A K Browne to China next month,the Minister said it is “not correct” as he was visiting friendly foreign countries as per his wishes and invites by them.
Reports have suggested that the IAF chief’s trip to China has been called off due to the lack of reciprocal high-level visits by the Chinese side to India.
On whether India was moving towards the US as many military aircraft are being procured from there,Antony said,”We are not tilting towards anyone. We have strategic partnership with many countries including the US. But one thing we are very particular about. We will not be party to any military bloc.”
Antony said it was true that several sophisticated equipments were being procured from the US but India was procuring military hardware from countries such as Russia,France,Israel and the United Kingdom as well.
On reports that India was to planning to provide facilities for the US air force at the Thiruvananthapuram air base,the Minister said there was “no such proposal”.
Asked if it was the right time for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York later this month,Antony said the Prime Minister has to take a final decision.
The Minister declined to give a timeline for procuring 126 multi-role combat aircraft,saying negotiations were going on.
Asked about the Board of Inquiry (BoI) into the INS Sindhurakshak submarine mishap,Antony said the Navy was in the process of finalising its investigations into the matter.
He said the sabotage angle in the mishap could not be ruled out but nothing could be said before the completion of the investigations.
The submarine had met with a mishap sitting on-shore in its harbour and sunk after explosions possibly killing almost all the persons on board.
The Navy has ordered a BoI under a Rear Admiral whose investigations are underway