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US Pacific Fleet Commander visiting India; to hold high-level talks

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Commander of the US Pacific Fleet Admiral Harry Harris will hold talks with top Defence Ministry officials in New Delhi on Tuesday as the Obama administration tries to "rebalance" to Asia and the Pacific.

Defence sources said Harris, nominee for US Pacific Command, will hold talks with Navy Chief Admiral R K Dhowan and later call on Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

US and Indian official remained tight-lipped about what is on the agenda but they said effort is to deepen bilateral ties.

His visit comes just weeks after President Barack Obama said the US is "primed to unlock" the potential of relations with India as part of its rebalance to Asia and the Pacific.

He made the remarks while unveiling his new national security policy on February 7, days after his second trip to India.

Running into more than 30 pages, the National Security Strategy says that in South Asia, the US will continue to strengthen its strategic and economic partnership with India.

"As the world's largest democracies, we share inherent values and mutual interests that form the cornerstone of our cooperation, particularly in the areas of security, energy, and environment," it said.

"We support India's role as a regional provider of security and its expanded participation in critical regional institutions. We see a strategic convergence with India's Act East policy and our continued implementation of the rebalance to Asia and the Pacific," the strategy said.

Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee in December, during his confirmation hearing, Admiral Harris had said the US is committed to a broad defence trade and technology relationship with India to assist it in military modernisation efforts.

Harris, the highest-ranking Asian-American in the history of the United States Navy and the first to attain the rank of 4-star Admiral, also noted that expanding bilateral security partnership with India is crucial for security and stability in Asia.

United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) Area of Responsibility (AOR) encompasses about half the earth's surface, stretching from the waters off the west coast of the US to the western border of India and from Antarctica to the North Pole.

Approximately, 360,000 US military and civilian personnel are assigned to USPACOM area of responsibility. US Pacific Fleet consists of about 200 ships (to include five aircraft carrier strike groups), nearly 600 aircraft and 140,000 sailors and civilians.

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US  India  Navy  Pacific Command  Defence  
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