India will continue to develop infrastructure along the border with China, defence minister AK Antony said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed a border defence cooperation agreement with China when he visited Beijing last week. The Line of Actual Control (LAC) has seen sporadic incidents of Chinese patrols encroaching on Indian territory this year, leading to mounting tensions between the Asian giants.
On Wednesday, Antony said that both the countries have made sincere efforts to avoid tensions. “But if anything happens on the Line of Actual Control after this, there is a mechanism to intervene immediately,” he said, adding that Delhi’s primary policy will be to develop friendly relations.
Antony said that regional cooperation is “not good,” as is obvious from the fact that South Asia has just 1.7% share in global trade and a meager 6% in intra-regional trade. He said that all states need to deal with mutual perceptions while dealing with foreign policy. Conflict and under-development in many states creates perceptions that are far from reality, he added.
“We need regional integration in a true sense and perception building plays a key role in this,” said Antony and added that India’s efforts to forge cooperation are yet to be felt in the region.
Antony, who was talking on the sidelines of a conference on regional perception, also said that infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir is taking place with tacit and sometimes open support of the Pakistan Army. Infiltrators, he said, are “acute”, well-equipped and can sustain for a longer time (compared to in the earlier decades).
“The new and unusual development is that infiltration attempts on the international border in Jammu and Kashmir have increased substantially and it is a matter of concern for us,” said Antony. India is sincere about making peace, he said and questioned that if Pakistan was serious too, then how could infiltration even can take place.
He, however, refused to throw light on the recent, controversial and prolonged encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Keran sector, on which a report has been submitted to the defence ministry.