Indo-US defence deals unlikely during Obama visit

Last Updated: Monday, October 25, 2010 - 18:15

New Delhi: India and the US are unlikely to
wrap up any defence deals during the high-profile visit of
President Barack Obama early next month, Defence Minister A K
Antony indicated on Monday.

"I don`t think so," he told reporters on being asked if
the Defence Ministry was expecting any deals to be signed
during Obama`s visit commencing from November six.

India and the US are in talks to finalise a deal for 10
C-17 transport aircraft for the IAF estimated to be worth USD
5.8 billion.

"The talks are in its final stages," Antony said in
response to a query on the C-17 deal.

India is also interested in buying 24 Harpoon missiles
for its Air Force at an estimated cost of USD 700 million.

Apart from these purchases, the two sides are also holding
discussions for foundational agreements in areas such as
communication interoperability, logistics support and
geo-spacial fields.

He said the whole government was coordinating the US
President`s visit in which Defence Ministry was playing a
part.

Asked about threats from fidayeens during Obama`s visit,
Antony said though there were possible threat perceptions
during high level visits, government took all measures to
counter them.

"Whenever high level visits take place, there is always
possibility of threats. We are putting all measures in place
to meet all problems. We are capable of handling it, as we
have proved during the Commonwealth Games by conducting it
successfully," he said.

To a question, the minister said there were 42 terror
training camps which were active in Pakistan sand a new
element was women were also being trained as terrorists.

"Some elements are training terrorists against India.
Even now, 42 terror camps exists across the border. They are
training even ladies," he said.

But, he said, Indian armed forces were vigilant 24X7 to
defeat these terrorists.

"They (armed forces) are ready always. Country is safe in
the hands of our armed forces," he said.

Calling the Mumbai terror attacks two years ago as "an
eye opener" to Indian security establishment, he said the
importance of coastal security had dawned on the government
only after the 26/11 incidents.

"For us, 26/11 incidents in Mumbai was an eye opener. It
is now all the more important due to the security situation
around India. We have to take more care in strengthening the
coastal security," he said.

"All the while, we thought land border is only the real
border. Strengthening the security along the land borders was
our only concern. We thought coastal areas have their own
protection from the seas. Gone are those days. We have to be
more careful," he added.

That was why the government was giving more attention to
the coastal security now by strengthening coast guard and
coastal police, he added.

PTI



First Published: Monday, October 25, 2010 - 18:15

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