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'US to increase military presence in Asia-Pacific'

world Updated: Jun 02, 2012 00:00 IST

PTI
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Embarking on a strategic tour of Asia including India, US defence secretary Leon Panetta has said that Washington planned to bolster its military presence in the Asia-Pacific through alliances rather than setting up bases.

Asserting that the US was serious about shifting focus to the region, Panetta told reporters on his way to Singapore that a new strategy focussed on Asia would bring more troops and high-tech weapons to project American power in the region over the next decade.

Instead of setting up large bases, US military forces - including naval ships, aircraft and troops - will deploy on short assignments for joint exercises, training and operations with partner countries.

Elaborating on expanding US military footprints in Southeast Asia, Panetta was quoted by Pentagon as saying, "We are moving towards a very innovative relationships in which we will develop rotational deployments."

US "power projection" in the Pacific would be enhanced by investments in new technologies, he said.

Panetta's comment come amid growing concerns about China's increasingly aggressive posture. The Pentagon in its latest report on China has said that Beijing is developing offensive weapon platform like carriers, anti-ship missiles and cyber warfare capabilities.

The US defence chief said the new strategy was aimed at re-balancing the military deployment in the area.

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