Antony to raise Pakistan, China, defence deals during US trip

India`s concerns over US military aid to Pak, threats from terror groups in SAsia and China`s military assertiveness in the region are some of the issues that Defence Minister A K Antony is likely to raise with Washington.

Last Updated: Sep 21, 2010, 21:53 PM IST

New Delhi: India`s concerns over US military
aid to Pakistan, threats from terror groups in South Asia and
China`s military assertiveness in the region are some of the
issues that Defence Minister A K Antony is likely to raise
with Washington during his September 27-28 visit.

Antony, who will meet US Defence Secretary Robert Gates
and National Security Advisor General James Jones, will also
discuss pending bilateral agreements such as communication
interoperability, logistics support and geo-spatial
cooperation, which the Americans have been pressing for in
order to upgrade the defence relations to the next level.

Antony, who will leave for Washington this weekend on the
invitation of Gates, is also likely to meet US Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton during the trip, but this engagement is
yet to be finalised.

"Security issues - both regional and global are likely to
come up prominently during the talks. The two sides will also
discuss measures to expand defence cooperation in various
areas," a Defence Ministry statement here said.

The Defence Minister will be taking along with him the
next leadership of the Indian armed forces -- 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 A K Gogoi.

Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar and Adviser to Defence
Minister Sundaram Krishna too will be part of the high-level
delegation, Defence Ministry officials said here.

Concerned over US military aid to Pakistan being misused
against it, Antony had recently asked the Obama administration
to establish a "monitoring mechanism" to ensure that this does
not happen.

Antony had raised the issue during his meeting with both
General Jones and also US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman
Admiral Mike Mullen, who were on a visit to New Delhi in July
this year.

The Defence Minister had told the US security top brass
that American arms aid to Pakistan was disproportionate to the
war on terror for which it was meant.

That apart, he will also discuss the security situation
in the region arising out of threats from terror groups
operating from Pakistani soil and in its borders with
Afghanistan.

Antony will also share information with the US on the
increased presence of Chinese military in the region,
including the recent reports of PLA`s presence in Pakistan
Occupied Kashmir and their naval manoeuvers in the Indian
Ocean Region.

PTI