The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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US admiral on India recce

New Delhi, Dec. 10: US Pacific command chief Admiral Thomas Fargo today held wide-ranging discussions with Indian leaders and senior officials on the Asian security environment with special emphasis on al Qaida’s presence in the region and progress in the military-to-military cooperation between Washington and Delhi.

This is Fargo’s first visit to India since he took over the Pacific command from Admiral Dennis Blair in May this year. In the South Block, it is being described as a “familiarisation” trip.

Fargo will leave for Srinagar tomorrow and hold talks with the army and security officials to get a feel of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, one of the worst troubled areas in the region.

Fargo, who arrived yesterday, called on external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha. He also met foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal, defence secretary Subir Dutta and other officials of the two ministries to discuss the security scenario in the sub-continent and developments in the Gulf.

Though Iraq does not come under the Pacific command, the likely developments in Baghdad and its impact on the rest of the region was discussed. But the main focus of the US admiral was on the growing activities of al Qaida in the region, manifest in the recent Bali bombings, and reports in the western media about the terrorist network’s presence in Bangladesh.

North Korea and China are the two other important countries that fall within Admiral Fargo’s jurisdiction and at the meetings today, he shared the US’ perception about developments in Beijing and Pyongyang. Though Washington is aware of North Korea and Pakistan’s clandestine nuclear partnership, it is of the view that the leadership in Pyongyang should be engaged if the US goal of de-nuclearising North Korea was to be achieved.

The new leadership in China and the high-level military contact between Washington and Beijing that re-started recently also came up for discussion.

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