February 2002 News

US not to play mediator in J&K issue: Myers

18 February 2002
The Pioneer

New Delhi: The United States of America on Monday ruled out any intention to play the role of a mediator in the present Indo-Pakistan situation on the border and said issues would have to be worked out between the two countries. Reiterating his country''s position here, the visiting US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard G. Myers said ''we don''t have a large military presence elsewhere in the rest of the region. In terms of Indo-Pak issues that will be worked out by India and Pakistan.'' Addressing newspersons after meeting India''s top brass of secruity establishment, he asserted that continued US military presence in Afghanistan definitely '' restrained any belligerence'' there. When asked if the US presence could act a restraint on the present military stand-off between India and Pakistan, he said America had hardly any presence beyond the area of decimating terrorist forces. He elaborated the American presence had played a dramatic part in decimating terrorists forces like Al Qaeda and Taliban and all kinds of terrorists being harboured in Afghanistan. General Myers held discussions during the 24-hour visit with National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra, chief of army staff General S.Padmanabhan, Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy, and Defence Secretary Yogendra Narain. General Myers also called on the External Affairs minister Jaswant Singh. The highlight of General Myers visit was a presentation made to him on India''s security concerns by the Chairman of Integrated Defence Staff(CIDS)Lt. General Pankaj Joshi, it was learnt. The American general''s visit coincided with the departure of a 10-member high level IAF delegation headed by Vice chief of air staff Air Marshal S.G.Inamdar to Hawaaii in continuation of the meeting of the Indo-US executive sterring air force group. The US team there would be led by General William J. Bergert chief of US Pacific Air Command chief. India and the US are likely to enter into an agreement for New Delhi acquiring the much needed weapon-locating radars in the mountains for which an American negotiating team is arriving here on Tuesday. General Myers said a team led by Major General Bruce Scott, the commanding general, US Army Security Assistance Command, would be arriving here on Tuesday to seek consensus on an agreement for the government to purchase ANTPQ-37 weapon locating radars. It was learnt India was keen to purchase about 150 to 200 such radars. ''This agreement will be for the Indian Army, the first major government to government purchase of military equipment from the United States,'' a US Embassy statement said adding agreements pertaining to other types of equipment were expected to follow. The sources said the deal could also include purchase of extra sensitive ground sensors to deter cross border infiltration from Pakistan along the 160-km long line of control(LOC) in Jammu and Kashmir and GE 404 engines for the light combat aircraft(LCA). The US Embassy statment said after revival of steering groups of army, navy and air force, Washington and New Delhi would soon mark the resumption of joint technical group to explore possibilities for joint research, development and production of military systems.


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