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Self reliance in defence production vital: Antony

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Defence Minister AK Antony lighting the ceremonial lamp to mark the opening of Aero-India 2009 International Seminar, in Bengaluru on February 9, 2009. PIB photo

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM (PTI): Achieving self-reliance in defence production is of utmost importance to ensure security of the nation and economic progress, Defence Minister A K Antony said today.

Presently, the country relied on outside sources for nearly 70 per cent of its defence equipment and arms and it was vital to steeply increase the indigenous capability in the area, Antony said.

He was addressing a gathering after laying the foundation stone for BrahMos Missile Integration Complex at the BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Ltd (BATL) here.

Doubting the consistent supply of the imported arms and equipments, the Minister said that the change in internal policies of the countries from where they (arms) were being sourced could pose strategic problems.

"The only way to overcome such difficulties was to increase indigenous defence production capability," he said.

Considering the security scenario and persistence of threats, the Minister called for a strengthened armed forces with more sophistication.

"The country could not afford to lower its defence preparedness," he said.

Antony, however, hailed the country's decisive steps in defence production, adding the immediate results (of the steps) would include Light Combat Aircraft, Arjun Tank and the missile systems.

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