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Asia Pacific region should not be scene of arms race: US

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Inter-continental ballistic missile Agni-V. A DRDO photo.

NEW DELHI (PTI): The US has said Asia Pacific region should not be the scene of an arms race, days after India test-fired its over 5,000 km strike range Agni-5 missile, which can cover China and Europe.

"On strategic missiles with both India and China, I would say they both have technological capability to field such missiles. The US does not believe that Asia Pacific should be the scene of any competition or arms racing, let alone conflict. It is not in interest of any of us and people," US Deputy Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter said on Wednesday.

He was asked to comment on the stockpile of long-range missiles in the Chinese inventory and India's assertion that it has the capability to build Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM).

India had recently test-fired the Agni-5 and after that stated that if there is a need, it can build missiles with ranges up to 10,000 km within two or two-and-a-half years.

Carter said the region has been free of conflict for a long time and that is why Asia Pacific region has seen lot of economic development in the past.

On the alleged Chinese belligerence in regions such as South China Sea, Carter said as a policy, the US does not take sides or positions on territorial disputes.

"But we want that for finding a solution to the issues, they should be resolved peacefully, there should be no coercion or militarisation of the issue," he said.

Asked about the American rebalancing policy in the Asia Pacific region, the senior American defence official said, "It (rebalancing policy) is not aimed at China. There is no cold war or competition with China.

"We do not want that. It is for restoration of the historic role played by the US in the region."

Asked about the defence deals to be signed between India and the US during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit there on September 27, Carter refused to give any specific answer saying a number of projects were being discussed.

"I will let the President and the Prime Minister decide that. There are a lots and lots of projects. Both the leaders know about them. Our effort was here across the board as we are looking for a long term," he said.

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Asia Pacific  Arms  US  
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