Magazine article Arms Control Today

U.S., India Discussing Arms Deals, Military Ties

Magazine article Arms Control Today

U.S., India Discussing Arms Deals, Military Ties

Article excerpt

TOP U.S. OFFICIALS visited India in November seeking closer military ties and possible arms deals with New Delhi after a more than three-year period during which such relations were prohibited.

On November 5, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld met with Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes in New Delhi and agreed to begin discussions on possible arms deals soon. In September, President George W. Bush waived sanctions, enacted after India's May 1998 nuclear tests, that had prohibited the United States from selling U.S. arms to or maintaining close military contacts with New Delhi. (See ACT, October 2001.)

Admiral Dennis Blair, commander-inchief of U.S. Pacific Command, traveled to India November 28 to meet with India's top defense officials. The two sides reportedly discussed conducting joint military exercises, cooperating on combating terrorism, increasing military contacts, and reviving the U.S.-Indian Defense Policy Group, the forum through which Washington and New Delhi will hold talks on resuming military ties. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, who will serve as the senior U.S. official in the group, is expected to visit India in early December.

U.S. Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill told reporters November 21 that the two countries have been discussing "exercises and education, arms sales and so forth" and that the United States anticipates a "robust U.S.-India defense relationship of a kind that is unprecedented in our bilateral relationship. …

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