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Defense Minister Says Russia Not Planning Military Alliance In Asia --> Sergei Ivanov (file photo) (AFP) 1 November 2005 -- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov has said that recent joint military exercises with China and India do not mean that Russia is seeking a new military alliance in Asia

Russian and Chinese troops held joint maneuvers in August, while joint drills of Russian and Indian troops were held last month.

In an interview published today in Russia's "Izvestiya" newspaper, Ivanov said the drills were intended to practice joint action against international terrorists. He said they did not threaten the interests of any third country and "didn't signal an intention to create a new military-political alliance in the region."

Ivanov also said the exercises were a way to encourage China and India -- both top customers of Russian arms -- to buy more weapons.