Wednesday, April 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Rocca meets senior MEA officials
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 9
The prolonged Indo-Pak military standoff, the situation in Afghanistan and the reports of regrouping of Al-Qaida and Taliban cadres were among the points that came up for wide-ranging talks the visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Christina Rocca had today with senior officials here.

She reviewed the current security situation in Afghanistan with India’s special envoy on Afghanistan S.K. Lambah.

Ms Rocca, who arrived here today, discussed developments in the South Asian region, especially the tension along the Indo-Pak border and violence unleashed by Maoist activists in Nepal with Ms Meera Shankar, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs.

The US official, who had to cut short her India visit last month because of a church blast in Islamabad, will meet External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, Foreign Secretary Chokila Iyer and Mr Jayant Prasad, Joint Secretary (USA) in the ministry tomorrow.

Significantly, Ms Rocca would also be meeting CBI Director P.C. Sharma tomorrow to discuss ways to further increase cooperation between the intelligence agencies of the two countries in combating terrorism. She leaves for Washington tomorrow night.Back


George leaves for Russia today

New Delhi, April 9
India is expected to ask Russia to shift production of some critically needed Russian armament spares to this country during Defence Minister George Fernandes’ visit to Russia beginning from tomorrow.

Heading a nine-member high level delegation, Mr Fernandes will hold extensive talks with his Russian counterpart Sergi Ivanov to finalise some defence deals including acquisition of Kiev Class aircraft carrier ‘Admiral Groshkov’.

The two sides, according to Defence Ministry sources here, will also hold delegation-level talks to expedite the supply of Russian frontline main battle tanks, T-90 tanks, upgraded SU-30 fighters and other equipment.

Besides the Defence Minister, the delegation includes Additional Defence Secretary Ajay Prasad, Additional Defence Production Secretary Dhirendra Singh, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff Vice-Admiral S.V. Gopalachari, Assistant Chief of Air Staff Air Vice-Marshal P.K. Desai and Additional Director General (Weapons and Equipments) at Army Headquarters Major-Gen C.S. Brar.

In the face of recurring delays and reports of presence of middlemen and agents in the supply of Russian weapons spares New Delhi has been keen to set up units for production of these spares within India.

The delegation is likely to explore whether the Russians would agree to set up such units which could also be used for marketing defence items produced there to the third countries. PTIBack

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