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US General has talks with Indian Defence Brass

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, June 5: India and the United States today held wideranging discussions here to further boost growing military cooperation between the two countries with America's highest ranking military officer and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace meeting top Indian defence brass.

Though there was no set agenda for his parleys, Gen Pace met Naval Chief -- and Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee -- Admiral Arun Prakash and Army Chief General JJ Singh in an exercise aimed at familiarisng himself with the Indian military leadership.

Gen Pace was also scheduled to meet Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi.

Earlier, Gen Pace -- the highest ranking American military officer to visit India in three years -- was accorded an impressive inter-services Guard of Honour on his arrival for talks at South Block.

Gen Pace -- heading a high level tri-service delegation -- arrived here yesterday from Singapore on a special US Air Force jet for a four-day visit that will also take him to Agra, Chandimandir and Shimla.

In brief comments he said his trip was to ''familiarise myself with the Indian military leadership''.

A Defence Ministry spokesman said ''there is no set agenda for the talks... Issues of mutual interest and cooperation will be the focus of Gen Pace's visit....'' Sources said Lt Gen HS Lidder, Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff, briefed the American General on 'India's Security Perspective', following which US officials briefed the Indian defence brass on 'Regional Security Perspective'.

During his stay here, Gen Pace -- whose predecessor Gen Richard B Myers had visited India in July 2003 -- will call on Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee and also hold discussions with National Security Adviser MK Narayanan.

Gen Pace will also be visiting Agra to see the Taj Mahal as well as the Air Force Transport Base -- where he will also see the Paratroop Training School. Besides, he will visit the Headquarters of the Army's Western Command in Chandimandir, near Chandigarh, and its Training Command at Shimla.

Gen Pace is the third senior US military officer to visit India this year after US Pacific Air Force Commander Gen Paul Hester and US Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Gary Roughead.

India and the US had upgraded their defence ties in June 2005 by signing a 10-year agreement that envisages stepped-up military cooperation in fields like missile defence, joint weapons production and technology transfer.


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