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Decision to raise corps along China border pragmatic: Khurshid

Decision to raise corps along China border pragmatic: Khurshid

New Delhi: Terming as “pragmatic” the government’s decision to raise a mountain strike corps along the Chinese border, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Thursday said the country prepares for peace as much as for “tough” times.

“In national interest, we will do whatever needs to be done at the appropriate level. We work for peace as much as for tough times,” he said, adding that the government takes “steps whenever necessary”.

Speaking on the sidelines of an art exhibition, he said, “We live in a world which combines principles with pragmatism... we also maintain a rational, decent balance in our policies.”

The Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday had cleared a proposal for creation of a corps including deployment of 50,000 additional troops along the China border at a cost of around Rs. 65,000 crore.

Asked to comment on reports of Pakistan funding terror groups on Bangladesh and Myanmar border, Mr. Khurshid refused to give a direct answer but said there are some areas of “disquiet”.

“They have some concerns which they share with us. We engage in border cooperation with them in order to help them build infrastructure on the border. There are some areas of disquiet they are dealing with and we help them in any way necessary,” he said.

When asked about talks between Pakistan and Sri Lanka over a nuclear pact, the minister said there was no need to be unduly concerned.

“I cannot speak for the Sri Lankan government but we have many areas of cooperation with them. We are actively involved in the rehabilitation of Tamils in the country,” he said.

“We are confident of our relations in our neighbourhood and it is not a cause of sleepless nights if someone wants to compete with us. We are way ahead in our relationships,” he added.

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