HONOLULU, Hawaii (Jan 5, 2008) Aca,!" Less than two months after a series of terrorist attacks on the people of India, senior officials from the U.S. Army, Pacific, joined by the Marine Forces Pacific and Special Operations Command, Pacific, met with members of the Indian army for the 13th annual Indian Executive Steering Group to coordinate training engagements between the ground forces of the two countries.

Aca,!A"Since 1995, we have met annually to enhance our relationship and we have made significant progress over the last many years,Aca,!A? said Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, commander, U.S. Army, Pacific, who gave opening remarks with his counterpart Lt. Gen. A.S. Sekhon, Indian army director of general military operations. Aca,!A"Our relationship with India has been and will continue to be a centerpiece of our strategy with the United States Army in the Pacific.Aca,!A?

Mixon addressed plans to build a strategic partnership through eight initiatives established by U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey and Indian army Chief of Staff Gen Deepak Kapoor to enhance cooperation.

"The need for these initiatives are more urgent now in light of the Mumbai terrorist attacks," Mixon said. Aca,!A"A great deal of work has been done by our staffs in preparation for the ESG, and I am optimistic that we can work together to produce outstanding results. I would like to continue to build upon these successes so we can enhance our professional and personal friendships."

Sekhon emphasized the importance of the friendship of the countries. Aca,!A"We in the Indian army are looking towards taking our relationship further. Our cooperation has come a long way,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"It started from a lower level of cooperation, with subject matter engagements to tactical level exercises with boots on the ground, and I think the doctrinal exchange such as this ESG has really paved the way to take this cooperation further towards higher cooperations.Aca,!A?

The week's events include review and assessment of 2008's joint and combined training events and coordination of future actions between both militaries.

Mixon expressed condolences on behalf of USARPAC and expressed faith in the resilience of the people of India withstand the attacks and prosper as a vibrant democracy.

"India is the world's largest democracy and a very close ally to the U.S.," said H. Ali Mohammed, U.S. Dept. of the Army Headquarters international affairs interoperability analyst and ESG attendee. "As such, we must forge ahead to meet all the challenges in the world today."

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