Menon meets US counterpart in Munich conference


Munich : Energy security and regional stability figured prominently in talks between National Security Advisor (NSA) Shivshankar Menon and his US counterpart James Jones Sunday with both sides promising to advance their strategic partnership and tackle common challenges, government sources said.

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Both Menon and his predecessor M.K. Narayanan, now the West Bengal governor, are in Munich to attend the annual 46th Munich Security Conference that began on Friday. The three-day conference is being attended by top politicians, policy makers and strategic advisors from almost 40 countries.

“This is the first meeting that Menon had with Jones after taking over as NSA last month, and the meeting is significant in view of the recent development in the sub-continent, especially with the proposed foreign secretary talks with Pakistan,” said a senior government official.

Officials pointed out that Naryanan has been a regular participant in the Munich Conference, attending the event for the last four years, and his rapport with German NSA Christoph Huesgen earned him the invitation. Government sources said he got the invite in his personal capacity.

Nuclear arms safety, NPT, disarmament, the future of Afghanistan, maritime security, especially off the Somali coast, stability in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East were some of the issues that were discussed over the weekend.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, State Duma Vice-Speaker and Russian Gas Union Chairman Valery Yazev, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai were some of the high-level participants.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jeichi is participating in the conference for the first time.