April 2006 News

It's All Hush-Hush: US General Tours LoC

1 April 2006
The Hindustan Times

New Delhi: In what could re-draw the anti-insurgency strategy of the country, a top general of the US Marine Corps made a low-key visit to Srinagar on Wednesday and toured the forward areas along the Line of Control (LoC). Commandant Michael W. Hagee flew down to Srinagar from New Delhi on Wednesday morning. Soon after, he was flown to the forward areas in Uri district. He visited a number of places including Tangdhar. At all the places along the LoC, he interacted with the Army's field commanders. Hagee was accompanied with other officers from the Marine Corps. Later, he visited the headquarters of Indian Army's 15 Core where he had a one-on-one interaction with LieutenantGeneral S.S. Dhillon, commanding officer of the Core. It's the first time that a Marine Corps general visited the LoC. Sources said 'fighting insurgency' was on top of the issues discussed by the two generals. Dhillon briefed him about the situation along the border. They also discussed the issue of infiltration of intruders from Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir. Subsequently, Hagee, who is a fourstar general and had fought the Vietnam War, flew back to Delhi. Hagee, sources said, had reached Delhi on March 26. He had a series of meetings at the armed forces' headquarters in South Block. It was learnt that Hagee met Indian Navy Chief Arun Prakash. He also met senior bureaucrats before flying out of New Del hi on Thursday night. The Marine Corps is one of the five branches of the US armed forces (others being the army, navy, airforce and the coast guard). As a force, the Marines are known to use all essential elements of combat air, ground and, sea and have taken part in all major US operations. It is known to be most effective in situations where a light and mobile force is needed. The Marines have served in the 2003 Iraq war and during the subsequent US occupation of the country. The Corps had twice led the assaults on Fallujah City - in April and November 2004. The visit of Hagee seems to be a precursor to the visit of the US army chief of staff, General Peter J. Schoomak er, next month. Schoomaker is expected in New Delhi in the second week of April. It was learnt that he would meet the three chiefs of the Indian Army besides senior bureaucrats during his visit.


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