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Rumsfeld happy with Indo-US military ties

T V Parasuram in Washington | March 12, 2004 10:24 IST

The United States has said it was satisfied with the progress in military-to-military ties with India and hoped their cooperation in anti-terror campaign would be further strengthened.   

Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld said this during an unscheduled meeting with Chief of Army Staff General N C Vij, who is Washington on a ten-day visit.

Rumsfeld, who dropped in during a meeting between General Vij and Vice Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace, said both India and US are deeply involved in the war against terrorism and spoke of the great importance of Indo-US Defence cooperation.

He expressed great satisfaction with the progress in ongoing relationship between the two militaries, particularly the number of exercises and exchanges that were taking place regularly.

He hoped that mutual cooperation would only get strengthened in the coming days.

General Pace, who met Vij on behalf of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers currently on a visit abroad, also emphasised the importance of the relationship between the two countries, especially between the two armed forces and said they had matured significantly over the past several years.

The US general also expressed his desire to visit India.

General Vij arrived in Washington yesterday on a ten-day visit at the invitation of General Peter Schoomaker, Chief of Staff of the US Army.

Vij's visit, which will culminate on March 19, is seen, as one more major step in the strengthening of the rapidly growing relationship between the two countries, an Indian Embassy release said.

The objectives of the COAS's visit, it said, are to share India's strategic perceptions and security concerns with reference to the prevailing situation in South Asia and West Asia, to enhance army-to-army cooperation to mutual advantage, and to establish a personal relationship with General Schoomaker.

On arrival, Vij met India's Ambassador to US Lalit Mansingh and held discussions on a broad range of subjects, including the prevalent situation on the borders.

General Vij will hold a meeting with his counterpart, General Schoomaker tomorrow, where, apart from Full Honour Ceremonies being accorded to him, a series of discussions will be held on the progress of the army-to-army relations between the two countries.

Schoomaker will also host a formal dinner in honour of Vij.

The army chief will visit several other military establishments in the US, including the US Central Command, US Special Operations Command, US Northern Command, and the US Army Infantry School.

General Vij is accompanied by his wife Rita Vij during the visit.


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