[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
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.
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