Oops! Was he supposed to say that?

[Things slip–sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose, sometimes as a trial balloon (“Run it up the flagpole and see who salutes.”)  But when these relations are more deeply exposed, it’s a good time to watch whether the embrace continues, unbroken, and who tries to cover their face.  Here, the statement of the Pentagon commander is reported; the following stories report the denials by India and Nepal. — Frontlines ed.]

Pentagon commander says US special forces in India

02 March 12, 2012

US and Indian air force paratrooper at the India-US joint air exercise in Agra on 19 October 2009

US special forces are present in five South Asian countries, including India, a top Pentagon commander has revealed.

US Pacific Commander Admiral Robert Willard said the teams were deployed to help India with their counter-terrorism co-operation.

The US and India were working together to contain Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant group blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, he said.

The US embassy in Delhi clarified that the troops were not stationed in India.

A spokesman told the BBC that there were “no special forces stationed in India”, as media reports had suggested.

The embassy and India’s ministry of defence said a unit from the US 25th infantry division was in India to hold an exercise with Indian forces.

‘Working closely’

Adm Willard said US teams were also present in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

“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,” Adm Willard told a Congressional hearing.

“We are working very closely with India with regard to their counter-terrorism capabilities and in particular on the maritime domain but also government to government, not necessarily department of defence but other agencies assisting them in terms of their internal counter-terror and counterinsurgency challenges.” Continue reading

Top US admiral in New Delhi to strengthen US-India military ties, discuss countering China

Times of India

TNN, Sep 9, 2010

NEW DELHI: With a top US military general in town, India and US are likely to discuss China’s rapidly expanding military capabilities and its implications for the Asia-Pacific region, among other regional security issues.  The visit of Pacific Command chief Admiral Robert F Willard, who commands all US forces in the Asia-Pacific region, comes at a time when the diplomatic ties between India and China have taken a hit with Beijing denying a visa to Northern Army Command chief Lt-General B S Jaswal as well as describing Jammu and Kashmir as “India-controlled Kashmir”.

Admiral Willard is slated to hold talks with national security adviser Shivshankar Menon, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao and defence secretary Pradeep Kumar as well as the three Service chiefs, Air Chief Marshal P V Naik, Admiral Nirmal Verma and General V K Singh.  Incidentally, Admiral Willard’s visit also comes soon after the latest Pentagon report on the military capabilities of China, which held the 2.25-million strong People’s Liberation Army has moved “more advanced and survivable” solid-fuelled CSS-5 nuclear-capable ballistic missiles closer to the borders with India “to improve regional deterrence”. China is also developing contingency plans to move airborne troops into the region.

Continue reading