ON BOARD INS VIKRAMADITYA AIRCRAFT CARRIER - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said resumption of talks with Pakistan was to "try and turn the course of history" but made it clear that the neighbouring country would be judged by its commitment on terrorism.

Speaking to India's top military commanders on board INS Vikramaditya, Modi said "We are engaging Pakistan to try and turn the course of history, bring an end to terrorism, build peaceful relations, advance cooperation and promote stability and prosperity in our region." "There are many challenges and barriers on the path. But the effort is worth it because the peace dividends are huge and the future of our children is at stake. So, we will test their intentions to define the path ahead. For this, we have started a new NSA-level dialogue to bring security experts face to face with each other. But we will never drop our guard on security and we will continue to judge progress on their commitments on terrorism," he said.

This is the first time that Modi has spoken on the relations with Pakistan after the two countries announced the re-engagement under bilateral comprehensive dialogue last week.

Addressing the first ever Combined Commanders Conference to be held outside the national capital, Modi warned against "reckless" nuclear build-up and continuing military modernisation and expansion. He said "Our neighbourhood is most critical for our future and for our place in the world.

"But ours is a difficult neighbourhood with the full spectrum of security challenges. We see terrorism and ceasefire violations, reckless nuclear build-up and threats, border transgressions and continuing military modernisation and expansion. The shadow of West Asian instability is becoming longer," he said.

Modi said beyond that, "our region is marked by uncertain political transitions, weak institutions and internal conflicts. And, major powers have also increased their engagement in our land and maritime neighbourhood," he said.

"We will continue to strengthen our defence capabilities and infrastructure, engage our neighbours more closely and strengthen our regional and global partnerships, including in maritime security," he said.

He said that India is confident that its defence forces are prepared to deter and defeat any misadventure. "Our strategic deterrence is robust and reliable, in accordance with our nuclear doctrine, and our political will is clear," he asserted.

Modi said that the country needs capabilities to win swift wars for we will not have the luxury of long-drawn battles.

"We must re-examine our assumptions that keep massive funds locked up in inventories. As our security horizons and responsibilities extend beyond our shores and borders, we must prepare our forces for range and mobility," he said.