India committed to expand defence ties with US: Antony

September 29th, 2010 - 1:04 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, Sep 28 (IANS) Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony Tuesday conveyed to the US “India’s commitment to add even greater substance” to their defence partnership in the years ahead, but as expected, no deals were announced.By Arun Kumar

At the conclusion of Antony’s two-day visit, during which he met US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Advisor General James Jones, Indian officials said he had expressed satisfaction “at the increasing range and depth of defence cooperation”.

The visit ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit to India “was part of the intensive ongoing bilateral engagement at high political levels with a particular focus on defence cooperation”, the Indian embassy said.

“During the visit, Antony held detailed discussions with his US counterpart Gates and reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral defence cooperation, including the progressively increasing trade in military-technical equipment, service to service exchanges, joint military exercises and collaboration in defence technologies,” it said.

“The two principals also exchanged views on the situation in India’s neighbourhood and noted that the expanding bilateral defence cooperation was in mutual interest,” officials said but gave no further details.

“Upon conclusion of the visit, Antony expressed the view that such high level interactions had successfully served to develop deeper mutual understanding on defence and security issues of shared interest and played an important role in the process of unlocking the full potential of defence cooperation in the overall context of the strategic partnership between India and the United States,” he added.

At the start of the visit, Antony had told reporters that he would convey India’s concern over Pakistan’s diversion of US supplied arms against India and export controls on high tech items.

“On the whole, India-US defence relations are steadily expanding and both countries have a stake in strengthening this relationship. But mainly these are two matters of concern too,” he said.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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