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Country must be ready to meet challenges: Antony

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Citing the "challenging" geo-political realities around India, Defence Minister A K Antony on Thursday said the government was taking necessary steps to modernise armed forces.

He said India has always desired peace with its neighbours but peace cannot come at the cost of its security concerns.

"It is for this reason, we must be prepared to meet any challenge posed to our territorial integrity and sovereignty," the minister said in his inaugural address at DefExpo-2014.

"Geo-political realities around India pose various kinds of security challenges... It is for this reason we must be ever prepared to meet any challenge posed to our territorial integrity and sovereignty," he said.

Antony underscored India's thrust on indigenisation of defence industry which, he said, offers new opportunities to the private sector.

Noting that India has been carrying out regular reviews of Defence Procurement Procedure to give a fillip to private sector, Antony said it needed to balance the competing requirements of expediting procurement, developing a robust base for indigenous defence sector and maintaining highest standards of transparency, probity and public accountability.

In the DPP approved in 2013, efforts have been made to boost the Indian defence industry both in public and private sector by according preference to the 'Buy (Indian)', 'Buy and Make (Indian)' categories of acquisitions.

The industry should also come forward to create the necessary capability to take advantage of the provisions, he said.

"We are seeing growing public-private sector participation and we are also giving more opportunities to the private sector to make more meaningful and substantive contribution to the defence sector," he said.

More flexibility has also been given to foreign OEM (original equipment manufacturer) to encourage them, Antony said.

He expressed hope that the DefExpo would signal the start of a new chapter in the process of collaboration and business partnership.

A total of 624 companies from 30 countries are displaying weapon systems for the Army, Navy and internal security during the four-day DefExpo. A record number of 12 countries have set up their country pavilion in this eighth Defexpo and 178 delegates from 43 countries are participating, organisers said.

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Defexpo  India  Antony  Security  
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