New Delhi: Negotiations over the border row with China are in the final stages, Defence Minister A K Antony said. "Everybody knows that border dispute is still unresolved, in spite of the fact that many rounds of negotiations took place. Of course it (the negotiations) is in the final stage," he said on sidelines of a function on the annual day of Defence Accounts Department (DAD).

However, he did not elaborate over the progress in these talks. The Special Representatives of the two countries have held 15 rounds of talks so far alternatively in New Delhi and Beijing. He was responding to queries of reporters on the occasion of 50th anniversary of India-China war. Underlining involvement of stakeholders in the process of finding a solution to the border dispute, he said, "The pending resolution of the border dispute (is important) to avoid major tensions in the border. It should be done through governmental set up and mechanism for border management involving Services, MEA and other stake holders".

Recently, Army Chief General Bikram Singh had also "assured" the nation that his forces are prepared to deal with any such eventuality which happened in 1962. "I am assuring the nation that 1962 will not be repeated. That's the assurance I am giving. We will not let any enemy enter our territory. Plans are afoot on all borders," Gen Singh had said.

On a question over the long pending demand of One Rank One Pension (OROP) by the ex-servicemen community, he said the government is sympathetic to their demands. "It is an ongoing process. Even after financial crisis, we are taking care of their cases that means we are sympathetic, we know still there are problems. It is an ongoing process," he said.

The ex-servicemen community had expressed anguish over recent government announcement on issues related to their pension. Replying to a query on investigation against BEML and Tatra trucks sold by it to the defence forces, Antony said, "Everything is being investigated by the CBI. All issues related to Tatra trucks (will be investigated)."

On whether there are any reports of terrorist organization LTTE gaining strength in Tamil Nadu, he said, "We are closely monitoring everything." Earlier addressing the gathering, Antony asked the DAD to streamline their pension disbursal systems. "Even now I am getting some kind of complaints from pensioners. I know system has improved substantially over the years. But it needs more care... More sincere effort should be made to improve the system," he said.

The programme was also attended by Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai. "Effective resource management requires speedier decision-making by authorities vested with financial powers. At the same time speedier decision making must not lead to bypassing of laid down procedures," he said. Antony also applauded the DAD for sustained improvement in using information technology to hasten their process and services to the defence forces.


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