Kozhikode: Defence Minister A K Antony on Sunday said that India believes progress in relations with neighbouring countries could be brought about by solving disputes through talks.

"Our ambition is to improve relations with neighbouring countries, including China and Pakistan. Any disputes can be sorted out through mutual discussions to improve relations with these two countries," Antony said at a 'meet the leader' programme here.

He said the March 30 meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of the India-Pakistan World Cup semifinal at Mohali was a good beginning for improving Indo-Pak relations.

Lashing out at the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front government in Kerala and the party's government in West Bengal, Antony said that while LDF had failed to properly utilize the huge Central funds for development in its five year rule, the "anti-people" policies pursued in Bengal in the last 35 years had only resulted in unemployment and acute poverty.

The Defence Minister stressed the need for close cooperation between the state and Centre and urged people to vote the UDF to power to help Kerala become a model state.

On tackling corruption, he said the approach of the Centre and State government was different.

He said one of the major achievements of the UPA government was Mahatma Gandhi National Rural employment Guarantee Scheme and said there are plans to put in place a food security programme to eradicate famine in the country.

(Agencies)