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India gains access to Pentagon
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
In the backdrop of increased military cooperation between India and the United States, the Indian defence establishment has now gained direct access to the Pentagon, which houses the American Department of Defence, for working out issues of mutual interest.

Earlier interactions between the defence establishments of the two countries were through the United States Pacific Command. A senior officer, who was involved with the matter, told The Tribune that the development came through a few months ago.

During interactions between senior officers from the two countries, it was pointed out that India and Pakistan fell in the area of responsibilities (AOR) of two different US military commands. India came under the purview of the Pacific Command, while Pakistan was being dealt by the Central Command.

“It was brought out that if the Americans considered the sub-continent to be a nuclear flashpoint, it ought to be one establishment dealing with both countries so that a balance of opinion, objectivity and perception could be maintained,” the officer said. “It was following this that the US decided that regular interactions between the two countries be at the highest level,” he added.

One reason for the direct access to the Pentagon rather than altering AORs, some military officers opine, is that the United States is looking towards India as an asset for dealing with issues concerning areas lying to its east rather that the trouble Central Asia .

In another significant development, there have also been reports that India is to station permanent military attaches at the Pacific and Central Commands. Based at Hawaii, the Pacific Command’s AOR includes the entire Asia Pacific region east of India, while the Central Command, headquartered in Florida, handles the area west of the Indo-Pak international border including Central Asia, Middle East and parts of Africa. These two attaches would be in additional to the military attaches already posted in the Indian Embassy in Washington.

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