P.S. Suryanarayana

SINGAPORE: Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday discounted that China's military profile was a matter of common interest in India-U.S. dialogue.

Asked whether the U.S. seemed to want India to act in any particular manner in regard to China, he said: "Neither of them told me any such thing."

Mr. Mukherjee had held talks with the Chinese leadership before coming here to attend the Asia Security Summit, organised by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

About the possibility of the U.S. expecting a trade-off with India over their civil nuclear energy deal, now before the U.S. Congress, he said the issue did not fall within the domain of the Pentagon. "Fortunately, there is no strong opposition group. We are trying to convince the [U.S.] Senators and Congressmen, and I do hope it would be possible to get it through."

Earlier, at a summit plenary session, U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the U.S. relationship with India "has grown from an uneasy coexistence during the Cold War to a true partnership based on our common values and common interests today."

At another stage during the conference, he expressed surprise that an interlocutor did not mention India while referring to China and Japan as the two rising powers in Asia.