Indo-US ties key to security architecture in Asia

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New Delhi, Apr 20: The India-American military cooperation has ramifications for the ''central Indian military aim'' of deterring Pakistan, and also for both countries' concerns about China's development, a former top US Navy official said.

Speaking at a global forum here, former US Pacific Command Commander-in-Chief Admiral (Retd) Dennis C Blair said the cooperation also has ramifications for the important American military mission of deterring the use of force in Taiwan Strait. ''I know fully well that India-American military cooperation has ramifications for the central Indian mission (aim) of deterring Pakistan. It also has ramifications for both countries' concerns about China's development.

''However, it is my belief that these central military missions are legacies of our past to be managed and solved, not threats of the future to be settled by force,'' he added.

Admiral Blair said the most important military mission of the future was to create a durable and strong security architecture in Asia, which could allow the citizens of the two countries (India and the US) to prosper and develop to their full individual potential.

''I believe that the United States and India, with wise and dedicated leadership, can play a key role in building that future security architecture in Asia,'' he added.

The three-day IISS-CITI India Global Forum, which concluded here today, was organised by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), an influential London-based think tank and a leading authority on political-military conflict.

Admiral Blair also stressed the need for taking specific administrative steps by India and the United States to make their military relationship proceed to the next level.

''There are three very basic and routine agreements that must be signed so that our armed forces can get on with the business of working together. These are the mutual logistic support agreement, the communications interoperability and security memorandum of agreement, and the end use monitoring agreement.'' He lamented that India-American military relationship has been generic and without a focussed policy content.

''It has been good for American and Indian pilots to fly against each other and then brag in the bar about their exploits - and I have to say that not all the bragging has been on the American side.'' For the long term, Admiral Blair said the armed forces of the two countries must base their military relationship on operations that they were likely to conduct together.

''They must define the common political objectives of their countries that military forces contribute to and then plan and practice them together. The United States and India have not moved to this level of a military relationship, and I believe it is time to do so,'' he added.

UNI

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