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Myers Speaks on Terror War, U.S.-India Contacts

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

NEW DELHI, India, July 29, 2003 – Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers discussed the continuing war on terrorism with his Indian counterpart here today and quashed rumors that his visit was related to U.S. pressure for India to provide troops for operations in Iraq.

Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with Indian Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee Adm. Madhvendra Singh and discussed ongoing military- to-military ties between India and the United States. Myers spoke afterwards during a press conference at the American embassy.

He said he was grateful for India's cooperation in the global war on terrorism and said that U.S.-India military cooperation is increasing. "I think this improvement is emblematic of the successful transformation of the U.S.-Indian bilateral cooperation overall," Myers said.

American ties to India are important, because India will soon have the largest population in the world and it is the engine of prosperity for South Asia, embassy officials said.

Myers said he spoke about the situation in Iraq with Indian officials, but did not ask for military support.

He did speak about the importance of international cooperation in the war on terror. He told reporters there are 19 countries providing ground forces in Iraq today, with another 15 in the process of deploying troops to the region. Other nations are not providing ground troops but are supporting the effort economically or medically.

The coalition in Afghanistan, he said, is similarly robust with 10,000 American troops in the country working with 2,500 coalition troops.

"Creating stable countries in Afghanistan and Iraq is important to the international community," he said. "The importance is a stable Iraq and Afghanistan - a place where terrorists cannot gather. They tend to gather where there are ungoverned areas, and that is not good for any of us. I think India understands that as well as any country on this planet."

The chairman said there has been quite an expansion of U.S.-Indian military-to- military ties in the last few years. U.S. Pacific Command sponsors many exercises with India that involve conventional and special operations forces.

Myers' schedule called for him to speak with other Indian officials before traveling to Pakistan for talks with officials in Islamabad.

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