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India expresses concern over US military aid to Pakistan


A file photo.

WASHINGTON (PTI): Voicing its concern over supply of US arms to Pakistan, India Tuesday said some American weapons given to Islamabad to fight the war against terror along the Afghanistan border was being diverted against it.

Raising the issue with US Defence Secretary Robert Gates during an official meeting here, Defence Minister AK Antony said, "while the US is giving these arms to fight terrorists, Pakistan is diverting some portions to use against India."

Antony, who is in the US on a two-day visit on the invitation of Gates, was formally welcomed by Gates outside the River Entrance at the Pentagon.

The Indian Defence Minister also expressed New Delhi's concerns to Washington over the "delay and denial" of export licenses to Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratories, as also the continued presence of Indian scientific R&D agencies in the US Entity List under which these are banned for export of American technologies and know-how.

Antony also met US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Advisor Gen James Jones during which the two sides discussed regional and global issues such as the terrorist "threats and security situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Islamabad's continued support to India-centric terrorist groups."

With Gates, Antony expressed the hope that the review of the current Indo-US defence relations and structure would lead to "positive outcomes" as far as India was concerned.

"The presence of our institutions and laboratories in the US Entity List is somewhat anomalous, given our strengthening of relations in other areas of defence," Antony was quoted by officials as saying.

On the issue of three important agreements such as the logistics support, communication interoperability and geo-spatial cooperation, Antony said he appreciated the American view that these would facilitate access to high technologies, but there were a number of agencies involved and the deals needed to be considered in multi-dimensional perspective.

Noting that their second meeting this year signified the "measure of importance" which India attached to its relations with the US, Antony said New Delhi was looking forward to President Obama's visit in November and expressed the confidence that it would be an important milestone in strengthening of ties between the two nations.

The Defence Minister said the relations in the areas of equipment and technology exchanges would evolve from a buyer-seller to a partnership based on transfer of technology, co-production and collaboration in defence projects with Indian industry involvement.

State Department spokesman P J Crowley said Antony and Clinton talked about the region including the relations between India and Pakistan.

"Both sides are working very hard for a successful visit by President Obama later this year. They (Clinton and Antony) talked about Afghanistan. Of course, both of our countries want to see the evolution of a stable Afghanistan," he said.

Noting that India is facing some decisions in terms of purchase of military hardware, Crowley said the Secretary of State pledged that the United States is very interested in increasing its defense co-operation with India.

Pentagon spokesman, Col Dave Lapan, said the two leaders discussed the upcoming presidential visit to India, issues related to export control, foundational agreements and regional security issues.

Antony is accompanied by Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Bikram Singh and Andaman and Nicobar tri-services Command Admiral D K Joshi, who are tipped to be the next Army and Navy chiefs respectively -- apart from IAF's Director General (Air/Operations) Air Marshal AK Gogoi.

Defense Secretary Pradeep Kumar and Adviser to Defence Minister Sundaram Krishna are also part of the high-level delegation.

In a statement, the Indian Embassy said Antony held detailed discussions with Gates and reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral defence cooperation, including the progressively increasing trade in military-technical equipment, service to service exchanges, joint military exercises and collaboration in defence technologies.

He expressed satisfaction at the increasing range and depth of defence cooperation and conveyed India’s commitment to add even greater substance to the defence partnership in the years ahead," the statement said.

The two principals also exchanged views on the situation in India's neighbourhood and noted that the expanding bilateral defence cooperation was in mutual interest.

Upon conclusion of the visit, Antony expressed the view that such high level interactions had successfully served to develop deeper mutual understanding on defence and security issues of shared interest and played an important role in the process of unlocking the full potential of defence cooperation in the overall context of the strategic partnership between India and the US, the statement said.

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India  US  Bilateral talks  Visit  

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