Antony to raise Pakistan, China issues during US trip
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.delhi Updated: Sep 21, 2010 19:59 IST
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 in New Delhi 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 in New Delhi.
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.