NATIONAL

Gen. Myers coming tomorrow

NEW DELHI, FEB. 15. The Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard B. Myers, is arriving here on Sunday as part of the move to improve Indo-U.S. security-related ties.

Though a firm window of dates is unavailable, the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. S. Padmanabhan, is expected to return the visit in April.

During his two-day visit, Gen. Myers will meet leading members of the security establishment, including the National Security Council Advisor, Brajesh Mishra, the Defence Secretary, Yogendra Narain, Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen. Padmanabhan, and Vice Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral John C. De Silva.

The recently-constituted Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (CIDS), Gen. Pankaj Joshi, will give an hour-long presentation on India's security concerns.

The formation of the CIDS is a half-way house to completely integrating the three services for greater synergy and efficiency in operations.

Besides blending them at the apex level, the Andaman & Nicobar Command is the first to have been integrated at the theatre level. Since the U.S. achieved this integration sometime ago, India is keen to learn from its ``initial painful experience'' and Gen. Joshi is scheduled to visit Pentagon soon.

The U.S. is keen to involve India in the proposed multi-nation joint patrolling of the oil life-line in the Malacca Straits and is willing to offer all possible assistance to its Navy in this regard, mainly related to surveillance and deterrence.

Augmenting India's resources will also help maintain the security balance in the Bay of Bengal.

However, India has some reservations about the U.S. policy in the Arabian Sea and West Asia, especially its antipathy to the current regimes in Iran and Iraq with whom New Delhi enjoys no discomfiture.

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