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India ready for US pullout from Afghanistan

Posted on Feb 06, 10:09PM | IANS

Bangalore, Feb 6 : India is taking steps to face any eventuality that may arise after the US begins to pull out its troops from Afghanistan next year, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said here Wednesday.

"We are taking steps to safeguard our country from any eventuality that may arise after the US withdraws all its combat troops from Afghanistan," Antony told reporters at an aerospace event here Wednesday.

Terming the geo-political situation in the region "very critical", Antony said the complete withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan would be a matter of concern for India as hostile forces could pose a threat to the country from across the border.

"Nobody can threaten our country as our armed forces are fully prepared to take on any threat to our national security. We are equipping all the three services with the latest warfare equipment from within the country and overseas," Antony said.

Noting that the transfer of the Gwadar port to China by Pakistan was also a matter of concern for India, the defence minister said though the Chinese were building the port on Pakistan's request, their presence would be assessed from security interest.

The Pakistan government Jan 30 transferred the management of the strategic Gwadar deep sea port in the Arabian Sea from Singapore to China Overseas Port Holdings Ltd., which played a key role in its construction.

"As the Chinese constructed that port, Pakistan handed it over to China in mutual interest. It (presence of China) is a matter of concern us. My answer is simple and straightforward: We will keep an eye on it," Antony said.

Located between the apex of the Arabian sea and the mouth of the Persian Gulf, Gwadar port is 400 km away from the Strait of Horumuz, through which global oil supplying tankers pass.