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Visit of General Henry Shelton, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff to India

New Delhi,
July 20, 2001

General Henry Shelton, accompanied by his wife, arrived in New Delhi last evening on an official visit at the invitation of Admiral Sushil Kumar Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee. Gen. Shelton’s visit, the first ever visit by a Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff to India, followed the discussions between the Minister of External Affairs and Defence Shri Jaswant Singh and the U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld during his visit to Washington D.C. in April this year.

During his visit, Gen. Shelton inspected a Guard of Honour at South Block and laid a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate. He then called on his counterpart Admiral Sushil Kumar, Chief of Naval Staff and Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee.  He also met Chief of Army Staff General S. Padmanabhan, the Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal A.Y. Tipnis and Defence Secretary Dr. Yogendra Narain. He also called on the Minister of External Affairs and Defence Shri Jaswant Singh and the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and National Security Adviser Shri Brajesh Mishra.

The visit took place in the context of the shared commitment of the two Governments to work towards building a stronger and more productive relationship between India and the United States. The visit provided an opportunity to review and discuss ways to further strengthen bilateral defence cooperation between India and the United States. Gen. Shelton indicated that the United States was ready for the resumption of the institutional framework for dialogue and cooperation in the area of defence that was suspended after the Pokhran tests in May 1998.  The two sides also had an extensive exchange of views on global and regional security issues of mutual interest.

Gen. Shelton extended an invitation to Admiral Sushil Kumar to visit the United States in his capacity as the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. He also extended a similar invitation to the Chief of Army Staff Gen. S. Padmanabhan on behalf of the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army.