US defence chief to visit IndiaFebruary 20th, 2008 - 3:58 pm ICT by admin
Washington, Feb 20 (IANS) US Defence Secretary Robert Gates is visiting India with arms sales as part of the agenda, Pentagon has said. Gates is departing Wednesday on a nine-day trip around the world that will also take him to Australia, Indonesia and Turkey.
India is in the market for new fighter jets and when Gates meets his counterpart in New Delhi, he is expected to bring a sales pitch for American companies.
“The secretary is always an advocate for US defence companies,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell replied Tuesday when asked whether Gates will press the Indian government to buy potential Lockheed or Boeing airplanes.
“He believes that these nations are going to arm themselves, going to fortify themselves, and it’s best that they do so with us,” Morrell added.
The spokesman, however, clarified that the main focus of Gates’ visit would be “our shared security interests in the region and around the world”.
Details of Gates’ itinerary were not made public.
Gates’ trip has been overshadowed by Pentagon plans to shoot down a defunct spy satellite as early as Wednesday, but Morrell said Gates will give the go-ahead for any attempt no matter where he is.
Gates will travel first to Hawaii, the headquarters of the US Pacific Command and a base for US warships taking part in the attempt to shoot down the satellite.