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US invites China to join naval exercises

US Pacific Command Chief Admiral Timothy J Keating. A File Photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): Worries of Washington and New Delhi over Chinese navy's growing influence in Pacific and Indian Ocean regions notwithstanding, the US said it has invited the Asian giant's warships to join the naval exercises, including Indo-US ones, in near future.

“Our country has invited China to take part in several exercises and they had agreed to send observers to those,”  said US Pacific Command chief Admiral Timothy J Keating. 

Admiral Keating who was here on a day-long visit on Thursday, met Indian Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta, National Security Adviser M K Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon.

"Yes, we have asked the Chinese to participate in several, different kinds of exercises in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and search and rescue. They have agreed to send observers, not participants, to some exercises. They were invited to attend the Rim of the Pacific exercise," he said, adding, the US would have no objection to the Chinese observing the Indo-US exercise.

"I don't know if they were invited to Malabar. We don't have objections to them observing Malabar and I hope in time they would participate in any one of the exercises.Not just bilateral or non-bilateral, though we prefer bilateral," he said.

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