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India Concerned over US Arms Supplies to Pakistan

Indian officials on Thursday conveyed to US defense head their concern over repercussions of American arms supplies to Pakistan on the ongoing Indo-Pak dialogue and its impact on the positive sentiments for Washington in this country.

This was highlighted during talks US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had with Indian leaders during a short visit, the first at the cabinet level after the reelection of President George W. Bush, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.


"Rumsfeld conveyed to New Delhi that US understood Indian sensitivities in this regard and would remain continually in touch," PTI quoted External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna as saying.


US plans to supply sophisticated weapons like P3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft, anti-tank missiles and guns for warships to Pakistan under a package worth US$1.3 billion to bolster the latter's capability for the war on terror.


Rumsfeld called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and held discussions with Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee, External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh and National Security Adviser J. N. Dixit.


Concern was expressed from the Indian side about the repercussions of US arms supplies on the ongoing Indo-Pak dialogue currently poised at a sensitive juncture, Sarna said.


It was noted that the Indo-US relations has seen significant transformation during Bush's first term and that US was now perceived as a strategic partner of India, he said.


Rumsfeld was also told that these arms supplies would impact on the positive sentiments and goodwill for US in India.


On his part, Rumsfeld said US did not envisage relations with India and Pakistan as a zero-sum game and that it was US objective to have good relations with both countries.


Rumsfeld arrived here Wednesday from Afghanistan for a short visit.


(Xinhua News Agency December 10, 2004)

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