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US shares anti-missile know-how with India
September 09, 2005 20:05 IST
A high-level United States defence team has given classified detailed briefing on the Patriot PAC-III anti-missile system, specially its capabilities against Weapons of Mass Destruction, and on sensitive technologies of F-18/A Hornet and F-16 fighter jets to Indian Air Force officials.
This is for the first time that a Pentagon team has briefed Indian officials on the latest Patriot PAC-III anti-missile system.
Lieutenant General Jeffrey B Kohler, head of the American delegation, said India was among the few countries outside US treaty allies to be briefed on the missile system. "It is part of the US commitment to develop a strategic partnership with India and sharing classified details of the Patriot missile system is one of its elements," he said.
He asserted that Washington was not insisting on any package deal for sale of the state-of-the-art anti-missile system.
He said it was for the Indian government to take a decision on the purchase of the anti-missile system, acknowledging that New Delhi was also looking at similar systems being offered by Russia and Israel.
Asked to elaborate on WMD capabilities of the PAC-III system, Kohler said the US, after its experience in the first Gulf War, had carried out detailed studies on the impact of missiles using WMD warheads and the new system had the capacity to neutralise these.
On the proposed offer to sell the P3C naval spy planes, Kohler said Washington had submitted a number of new proposals to Indian Navy along with commercial verifications of the sales. He said the Indian Navy had evinced incorporating some special features in the Orions for which the Pentagon had agreed and would set up a special task force to make them operational.
On the F-18's and F-16's, the Pentagon official said his team, which comprised of US Air Force specialists, had outlined to IAF experts the special features of the Hornets including electronic warfare, radars, engines and weapons systems.
He said that the US Navy would field the F-18/A and P3C Orions during the upcoming Malabar range of joint exercises with Indian Navy in October.
Kohler also said that US had submitted proposals for leasing out some of Navy's Orions to India. Similarly, the F-16 Fighting Falcons would put up a live demonstration during joint air force exercises to be held in Kalaikunda in West Bengal in November, he added.