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India needs to strengthen military capability: Swamy

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: India needs to strengthen its military capability and forge closer ties with strategic neighbours to offset the growing influence of China in Asia, Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy said on Wednesday.

Delivering a lecture on “China-A Challenge or an Inspiration?” after receiving an award for his campaign for cleaner governance instituted by the Dr. Chitra S. Narayanaswamy Centenary Trust, Dr. Swamy said India, which had a history of squandering opportunities to cement ties with potential allies, had “to wean back its neighbours.”

He pointed out that at the moment almost all neighbours such as Nepal, Bangladesh, Burma or Pakistan shared closer ties with China than India.

As a nation that was hesitant to seize the offer for friendship from Afghanistan, failed to see Indonesia as a natural ally or refused to undertake Sri Lanka's Hambantota port project (that went to China), India finds itself in a tight position where none of its neighbours will support it in a standoff with China, Dr. Swamy said.

Dr. Swamy also wanted India to scale up defence expenditure to at least five per cent of the GDP for strengthening military capability and acquiring advanced weaponry. Only an India that was stronger militarily and had more friends among neighbours could command respect from China, he said.

Dr. Swamy said tackling the menace of corruption was also vital for India to realise its aspirations to be a force to reckon with. Pointing out that corruption was a disease born from greed Dr. Swamy called for rebuilding society on the principles of “sanatana dharma.”

Former Central Vigilance Commissioner N. Vittal, who presented the award to Dr. Swamy, described him as a one-man army against corruption and bad governance.

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