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The problem of controlling an hand-arm robotic system involved in a grasping task, which can interact through the object with the environment or a human, is considered in this paper. The control is in charge of ensuring that the hand firmly grasps the object and that the arm complies in the presence of external forces applied to the object. The control design of the hand-arm as separate subsystems is based on the reconstruction of the external forces through the direct measurements of the contact forces at the fingertips. Force sensing is used also to compute in real time the contact forces required to guarantee a firm grasp without slipping. Simulation tests in MATLAB/SimMechanics environment demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach.