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Left unhappy with growing Indo-US military ties
November 04, 2005 09:50 IST
An unscheduled meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security was held in New Delhi late on Thursday night to discuss the Left parties' decision to protest at Kalaikunda air base in West Bengal where air forces of India and the United States would hold joint military exercises.
Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh, National Security Advisor M K Narayanan and Army and Air Force chiefs Gen J J Singh and Air Marshal S P Tyagi attended the meeting at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's official residence.
Cabinet Secretary B K Chaturvedi said after the two-and-half-hour meeting that it was a 'security review' meeting and did not elaborate.
The IAF and USAF would begin a 12-day exercise at Kalaikunda base from November 7 and West Bengal's ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist has threatened to mobilise 30 lakh activists in statewide protests.
Earlier in the day, the Left parties, at a joint meeting, strongly opposed the joint military exercises and welcomed the call given by several parties and organisations for massive demonstration at Kalaikunda air base and other parts of West Bengal on November 7.
'The deepening military collaboration (between India and US) does not augur well for India's strategic interests and independent foreign policy,' the CPI (M), CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc said in the statement.
CPI (M) General Secretary Prakash Karat also held a meeting with the external affairs minister earlier in the day.