New Delhi, June 5 (IANS) US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta arrived here Tuesday on a two-day visit during which the two countries will discuss a range of issues relating to their strategic partnership as also military trade.
Panetta will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon later Tuesday.
He will meet Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Wednesday and deliver a lecture on 'Indo-US Defence Relations' at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. This will be followed by an interactive session and will be his only public event in New Delhi.
This is Panetta's first visit to India since assuming office last summer and is the last leg of a nine-day swing through Asia.
"India is the only country we mention in the defence strategic guidance as a partner. And we are really shifting to a point at which our defence interactions with India are becoming routine," a senior defence official told reporters in Washington May 31 in a briefing about the trip.
"The secretary has been eager to visit India since assuming his post last summer," the official said about Panetta's trip, which also took him to Singapore for the Shangri La Dialogue, an inter-governmental security forum of 28 Asia-Pacific states, and Vietnam.
"We're trying to have a relationship with India that is broad, strategic and continual," the official said.
"Basically the core of what we are trying to do with the swing through Asia, is to give a comprehensive account to partners and everyone in the region about what the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific will mean in practice," he said.
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