India not worried over China’s embassy in Maldives: Antony


New Delhi : India Tuesday indicated that it was not too worried over China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean region, after Beijing opened a new embassy in the Maldives ahead of last week’s SAARC summit in the island nation.

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Defence Minister A.K. Antony told reporters here that such efforts by China in the region cannot be prevented, but the only cause for worry was Beijing building military infrastructure along India’s borders and expansion of its defence capabilities.

“How can you prevent any country from establishing an embassy or furthering relations with any other country in the world,” Antony asked, when his response was sought on Beijing setting up its embassy in the Maldives last week.

“We are also establishing embassies and building relations with every country. It is a natural process,” he said.

However, “China is expanding its military capabilities and building military infrastructure along the borders with us. We know that…we are aware of that, and we are concerned about that,” Antony said.

He said India too was expanding its military capability and infrastructure on the eastern front. “But it is not for confrontation with any country, but to defend our territory. We will strengthen in the eastern sector to protect our territory,” he added.

Antony sounded positive on bilateral defence relations with China, noting that Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma will hold a dialogue with his Chinese counterpart next year, while a border management mechanism to which the two sides have agreed to may be put in place by the end of this year.