Bhubaneswar, March 22:
Advocating a larger role for India in the Indian Ocean region, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said India was building good relations with its neighbours and at the same time increasing its strength.
“I believe that I should have very good, strong relations with my neighbours and I am already exchanging a lot of joint exercises, discussions and training with neighbouring countries,” Parrikar told reporters here.
He said the government was planning to export defence material to other countries.
“At least 38 countries are sending their defence personnel for training in India. We are encouraging them. We are giving them more slots. We are also considering supplying some sort of defence materials through export or through line of credit to the countries so that they can depend on India for their defence,” he said.
Parrikar said India also believes that the best defence was in being strong.
“No one bothers about the weak, everyone takes the strong into consideration. We will build our position of strength and for which, as defence minister, we are initiating various action plans for creating a better or a higher moral security force,” he said.
Parrikar, however, said the target of the nation was to build a position of togetherness on friendship, not by threat.
He said export of weapons can help strengthen countries which will indirectly ensure that peace and stability comes to the region.
Participating in an international conference here on India and the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), he said India’s position was very crucial in the region.
Stating that India’s strength lies in non-violence, he said a strong person can dictate peace.
Parrikar urged the creation of a group of IOR countries which will deal with the traditional and non-traditional issues.
The minister said India was a country which will reach out to any neighbouring country to strengthen their coastal security and make their economy stronger.
About the proposal from the Odisha government on a Kalinga regiment, he said: “You cannot raise a regiment by caste or region. But we can help in some presence in the state.
“I would ensure that defence presence will be felt more in Odisha so that you can get more people trained, get more people in the army, employment and more production.”