In his customary address to the defence force personnel on the eve of the 67th Independence Day, Antony said the security situation across the globe and particularly in the Indian sub-continent was not very encouraging.
"We are trying to further strengthen our capabilities in the northern sector. We are attaching top priority to the strengthening of the infrastructure in this sector by building and upgrading border roads, strategic bridges and airfields," he said.
The defence ministry said last week that there have been 57 ceasefire violations by Pakistan this year which was 80 percent more than the figure for the corresponding period last year. There have also been concern among political parties over incidents of border incursions by China.
Antony said India was also enhancing other capabilities along the land and sea borders.
"Steps are also being taken to modernise the army's infantry and artillery units so that they can easily work in a seamless and net-centric environment," he said.
Empasising on indigisation, Antony said "an independent and self-respecting country like ours cannot afford to remain dependent on imports for meeting the needs of its weapon systems and equipment".
"The development of indigenous systems through sustained research and development is essential to enjoy freedom from external controls and embargos," he said.
He said India had been facing more threat to its sovereignty from the long sea-frontiers and the government had taken elaborate measures to plug loopholes in sea-patrolling and air defence mechanism.
"The government has also sanctioned a massive modernisation programme for the Indian Navy," Antony said and noted that India's first indigenous aircraft carrier had been launched earlier this week at Kochi.
Referring to the role of the Indian Air Force, he said the government was taking steps for its modernisation and providing best training skills to the air warriors.
He said the Coast Guard was steadily increasing its surface platforms.
The minister extended best wishes to all serving armed force personnel, ex-servicemen and their family members.
Antony said his thoughts were with the near and dear ones of all those bravehearts who laid down their lives for the nation.
"It is your round-the-clock vigil with dedication, commitment and sacrifice, defying all odds, that we are able to protect our freedom and territorial integrity," Antony said.
He said Uttarakhand was devastated by flash floods in June and the armed force personnel did a splendid job by undertaking non-stop rescue and relief operations and saved several precious lives.
Antony said terrorism continued to be one of the major challenges facing the country and personnel of armed forces were facing such challenges every moment.
"I have seen at first hand the various challenges and dangers that all of you face. The government has taken several steps to improve the facilities to mitigate your sufferings to some extent," he said.
--IANS (Posted on 14-08-2013)