This Article is From Nov 05, 2010

US denies moving 34 warships to Mumbai

Washington: Dismissing news reports as totally absurd, the US has denied that it has moved some 34 war ships around Mumbai, where President Barack Obama would arrive on the wee hours of Saturday, the Pentagon has said.

"That's just comical. Nothing close to that is being done," Pentagon spokesman, Geoff Morrell, told reporters at a news briefing.

Morrell was responding to questions about news reports appearing in various Indian media that the Pentagon has deployed a substantial number of its resources in India before the visit of the US President to India.

Obama reaches Mumbai on the wee hours of Saturday.

"We obviously have some support role for presidential travel. We don't speak to that in detail for security reasons. But I will take the liberty this time of dismissing as absolutely absurd this notion that somehow we were deploying 10 per cent of the Navy -- some 34 ships and an aircraft carrier -- in support of the President's trip to Asia," Morrell said.

"The notion that the President would require security as he travels to India and elsewhere should not come as a surprise to anyone. I mean this is a country that, sadly, withstood a devastating terrorist attack.

So it stands to reason that we would want to take precautions for Presidential travel," Morrell said in response to a question.

However, the Pentagon refused to answer question on if the US has received any special security requests for the presidential visit.

"We would not speak to you about special security requests. We wouldn't speak to you about any security requests.

All we'll say is that this department does play a role in support of presidential missions, but we don't care to, for security reasons, discuss the particulars of that," he said.

"I made an exception in batting down this absurd notion of there being 34 ships, or more than 10 percent of the Navy, deployed in support of this trip.

That is most certainly not the case," Morrell said.