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Pentagon denies missile defense sales talks with India

US in early talks with India over missile defence: FT
The United States is in preliminary talks with India over the sale of missile shield systems to help New Delhi guard against nuclear threats, the Financial Times reported Thursday. Citing officials at the US embassy in New Delhi, the business daily said talks took place mainly at a scientific and technical level, and US defence officials had conducted computer simulations with their Indian counterparts. "India is a partner of ours, and we want to provide it with whatever it needs to protect itself," one US embassy official was quoted as saying. "This fits into the overall strategic partnership we are building." Relations between India and the United States, which were frosty for years, have warmed considerably in recent years and October saw the signing of a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation accord. Thursday's report comes amid increased tensions between India and Pakistan -- nuclear-armed neighbours who have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947 -- over the attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai in November. The FT quoted a senior Pakistani official with detailed knowledge of Islamabad's nuclear programme as saying that it "will have to take counter measures to respond" to any US-India deal on missile defence. But the daily noted that no decisions had yet been made, and an agreement would likely be extremely politically sensitive for the Indian government.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Jan 8, 2009
The Pentagon has had longstanding contacts with India on missile defense issues but is not in talks to sell it missile defense systems, a defense spokesman said.

"The United States and India currently are not discussing the sale of any US missile defense systems to India," said Lieutenant Colonel Stewart Upton.

The Financial Times, citing US embassy officials in New Delhi, said the United States was in preliminary talks about sales of US missile shield systems to guard New Delhi against nuclear threats.

A US defense official described the interaction with the Indians as being on "a very rudimentary level."

"We have invited them to observe two tests this year to facilitate discussions of the two countries' ballistic missile defense test programs," the official said.

But the official said the invitation was extended with the understanding that it did not signal "US intention or willingness to sell the systems involved."

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Washington (UPI) Dec 31, 2008
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