Sunday, November 11, 2001, Chandigarh, India





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A new beginning in defence cooperation
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 10
The signing of the agreement for the strengthening of the New Strategic Framework between India and the USA will open a new chapter in the field of defence cooperation between the two countries.

Defence and strategic affairs experts here feel that not only would the doors open for India for acquiring technology in some critical areas, like development of advance systems but it would also give a thrust to the acquisition of various arms and ammunition required by the Indian armed forces.

There was also a view that this new strategic alliance would give a clear signal to Pakistan that India was an important player for the USA in its fight against terrorism. It will be a signal that India was a strategic partner for the USA in the Indian sub-continent.

India and the USA have agreed to hold talks on transfer of dual-use technology and military items in the wake of Washington’s recent decision to lift bulk of the sanctions imposed after the 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests. India’s interests in purchasing arms from the USA would be discussed at the Defence Policy Group (DPG) meeting to be held next month in New Delhi, a joint statement issued after Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s first summit meeting with President George W. Bush said.

It said the two sides decided to begin a dialogue at the government-to-government level to evaluate the processes involving transfer of dual-use technology and military items with greater transparency and efficiency.

Defence experts were of the opinion that this agreement was the real signal of the improvement of ties between India and the USA. This specially as the USA had imposed sanctions against India after it carried out nuclear tests in 1998.

It would also reflect that the USA has finally accepted India as a nuclear power worth having exchanges with. It would broaden the bilateral agenda and take the relationship between the two countries on a different plane.

Strategic experts, on the other hand, felt that this was also a signal that India would be of great importance to the USA in all its future interests in the region.

Mr S.K. Datta, a former CBI Director and presently member of the Forum for Strategic and Security Studies, felt that in the event of something happening in Pakistan upsetting the present equation between Musharraf and the USA, Washington would look to India for various kinds of support.

Musharraf’s agenda is clear. He wants a government in Afghanistan of his liking which would give some cover and leverage, though at low key, for Osama bin Laden to operate and survive physically. This will be totally unacceptable to Northern Alliance.Back

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