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Neighbours can’t be changed: Antony
Kannur, May 28 (IANS):
Published on 28 May. 2011 11:26 PM IST
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For better relations with India, Pakistan will have to dismantle the terror camps on its soil, Defence Minister AK Antony said on Saturday pointing out that friends can be changed but not neighbours.
“India has a policy of having good relations with all neighbours. We can change friends but neighbours can’t be changed,” Antony said addressing the media after laying the foundation-stone of the Indian Coast Guard Academy near here.
“Even when we have problems with our neighbours like China on border disputes, we have good relations with them. With regard to Pakistan, the biggest problem in permanent good relations with them is there are 42 terrorists camps functioning there,” he said.
“To have excellent relations with Pakistan, they have to first destroy those terrorist camps and without that it is practically impossible to have the best of relations with them.
“But nevertheless bilateral discussions are going ahead and we are having one such meeting shortly when the defence secretaries of the countries will meet,” said Antony.
Emphasising on the need for dialogue, Antony said India wants to have good relations with Pakistan.
“Dialogue is an important factor. Without dialogue nothing can be achieved,” he said.
He also said that the US is giving a lot of arms and money to Pakistan to help flush out Afghan terrorists taking shelter in Pakistan. “But these are being used against us, which is not a nice gesture on the part of (the) US and we have raised this issue with them many times,” added Antony.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony Saturday said it is too early to say who are the accused in the Adarsh Society housing scam but stressed that all those involved in it will be taken to task.
Asked about the progress of investigations into the Adarsh scam, the minister pointed out that the probe is being done by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and not by his ministry.
“All those who are responsible for the scam will certainly be taken to task. At the moment, it is too early to say who are all the accused. I am not the judge but one thing what I can assure is that the guilty will not be spared,” Antony told reporters.
Asking the Indian Navy and coast guard to never let their guard down, Defence Minister A K Antony today underscored the importance of the Centre accords to coastal security in view of the asymmetric threat from the sea.
Nations which have ignored maritime security have done so only at their own peril, he said after laying the foundation stone for the Indian Coast Guard Academy (ICGA) at Azhikkal, the first one in India and said to be the largest in Asia. Antony said the Indian Coast Guard was in the process of consolidating manpower and assets to face anti-national elements robustly.
ICG, which also has a key role in safeguarding marine wealth, was regularly conducting various activities covering the eight coastal states to create awareness about coastal security among the coastal population, he said.
Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, Director General, ICG said that the country joins the select group of nations with their own coast guard academy. Centre accorded approval for the academy in 2009, as part of steps to substantially enhance the capabilities of the ICG following the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. ICGA will be built over 164-acres on the banks of Valapattanam estuary overlooking the Arabian sea, in Kannur district. The Naval Academy at Ezhimala is situated 20 km north of the ICGA site, near Kannur, making the backwaters in the region, the training hub for Indian maritime services.
The futuristic academy when commissioned in an expected timeframe of three-and-a half years, will be able to train upto 500 trainees. It will also cater for personnel from friendly foreign countries, Marine Police and the Navy in disciplines such as Search and Rescue, Marine Oil Spill Response, Maritime Law, Fisheries and Boarding and Rummaging.

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