Delhi: Paying homage to Indian soldiers who fought
the war with China 50 years ago, Defence Minister A.K. Antony
Saturday said India has modernised its military infrastructure and
stressed that its armed forces were capable of protecting the
country against any such threat in future.
For the first time since the 1962 war, the Indian defence
establishment officially honored the martyrs and all those who
participated in the war against China in which India lost a large
portion of its territory.
Antony, along with his deputy, Minister of State for Defence M. M.
Pallam Raju, Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh and the three
services chiefs, paid homage to the 1962 war heroes and laid
wreaths at Amar Jawan Jyoti - "the flame of the immortal soldier".
"I would like to assure the nation that India of today is not the
India of 1962. Over the years, successive governments, learning
lessons from the past, strengthened our capabilities and
modernised our armed forces," Antony replied, when asked whether
India was capable of tackling any threat from China in future.
"We are confident armed forces will be able to protect the border
in the event of any threat," he said, on the sidelines of the
event to remember and honour soldiers who valiantly tried to fight
off Chinese aggression.
"We will vigorously continue to strengthen our capabilities," he
"Nothing changed. This is the 50th year and we thought this is the
time the whole nation must pay homage to the officers and jawans
who lost their lives to protect our border," Antony replied, when
asked why the government decided to honour the soldiers and
martyrs of the 1962 war 50 years later.
Antony stressed that the "major lesson" India has learnt from the
1962 war was that the country needed to strengthen its armed
forces to protect the borders.
"That we are doing and now we are in a position to involve armed
forces, intelligence agencies and all those involved in the
protection of national security that process is much more strong,"
Alluding to the decades-long boundary dispute, Antony stressed
that India was holding a dialogue with China to find a solution
and has established a mechanism to "immediately settle" any
tensions on the border.
Special representatives of India and China have held 15 rounds of
talks to resolve the boundary dispute, but have not made much
When asked about the government's decision on the Henderson
Brookes report on the 1962 war, he said: "Let me take a decision."
The defence minister added that all issues relating to setting up
of the national war memorial at India Gate have been resolved and
it was in the final stages of being cleared by the government.