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No US special forces on Indian soil: Antony

May 07, 2012 17:20 IST

The government on Monday said it has denied a recent assertion made by US Pacific Command Chief Admiral Robert Willard regarding the presence of United States special forces in India.

In a written reply to Lok Sabha, Defence Minister A K Antony said, "Government of India has denied the assertion made by US Pacific Command Chief Admiral (Robert Willard), during a US Congressional hearing, regarding the presence of the United States Special Forces in India."

In March, Admiral Willard, during a Congressional hearing in Washington, had said Special Forces teams from the US had been deployed in five South Asian countries including India to enhance their counter-terrorism capabilities, particularly in maritime domain.

"We have currently Special Forces assist teams – Pacific assist teams is the term - laid down in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, as well as India," Willard had told during a Congressional hearing in response to a question on co-operation with India on counter-terrorism  issues.

In his reply, Antony said, "The US government has neither sought nor has the GoI approved stationing of US special forces personnel in any capacity in India."

On the ongoing engagements between the forces of the two nations, the Defence Minister said, "India and US do occasionally conduct short duration Special Forces exercises in India and the United States in the context of their counter-terrorism cooperation and capacity building."  

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