China poses no threat to India: Pallam Raju

Chennai: China posed no threat to India despite border dispute but the country was equipping itself well and having a strong deterrence posture so that no adversary took it for granted, Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju said today.

"I think it is not a threat. We have a very healthy economic partnership with China, which is our neighbour. Of course, we do have differences on the perception of the border, which again at a very high level meeting of National Security Advisors we are thrashing these things out," he said.

Raju was responding to a question from reporters on whether China was a constant threat to India and steps taken to counter it. He saw no reason for a conflict between the two neighbours, Raju said after commissioning Indian Coast Guard ship ICGS Rajtarang here. "We are having a strong deterrence posture. And we are strengthening it further. So, I am sure there will not be any reason for any conflict to happen? We are trying to be mutually beneficial to each other," he said.

However, he said "…As a nation with such a large population and with economic interest worldwide and as a growing economy, I think we have to have those strong deterrence capabilities to make sure that none of our adversaries take us for granted."

Replying to a question, he said the existing defence procurement system was transparent and open. "The need of the hour and the urgency with which the government is focusing is to give the capabilities that our armed forces need," he said.

On recurring attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy, Raju said India had taken up the issue with Colombo at diplomatic level.

"I am sure that the Sri Lankan Government is sensitive about our fishermen transgressing into their waters. That is why we are working on it in a very scientific manner to inform our fishing community where to find the richer fish pockets…Solution is we have to give them better information and advice them," he said.

"We will find a mechanism. We are at a diplomatic level making sure that they are not aggressive with our fishermen," Raju said. He said after the Mumbai terror strikes, government has been strengthening the Coast Guard and the coastal security system.