Antony disagrees with ex-Army chief on Adarsh

Mumbai: Defence Minister A K Antony today differed with former Army chief general Deepak Kapoor`s deposition before the Adarsh Commission that the high rise was not a security threat. "The Defence Ministry and the Army are very categorical and very clear. It (Adarsh) is our possession, our land. It is a security threat, that we have already conveyed to the court," Antony told reporters on board stealth warship INS Sahyadri, which was commissioned here today.

General Kapoor`s views were in contrast with the Defence Ministry`s stand that it is a security threat to nearby defence installations. "There is no question of my personal view," Antony said, adding that what the former Army chief said was his personal opinion. On the situation in South China Sea, Antony said, "our role is limited. Our approach is that there should be unhindered freedom of passage, freedom of navigation for all ships in international waters."

At the same time, India favours resolving things through dialogue, Antony said. "We don`t believe in confrontation. That is India`s policy," he said. The Navy is planning seven more frigates as per the 17-A project, he said. Four will be built at the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) and three in Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers. "Every year hereafter, we are going to deliver five warships to the Navy," the minister said.

Asked if the country`s declining economy is affecting the defence plans, Antony said, "it won`t affect the defence plan. The government is very particular that there is no cut in capital expenditure of defence." On the delay in the Scorpene submarine project, Antony said, "there were some teething problems, but we are overcoming that."