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US Defence Secy Panetta meets PM, NSA

US Defence Secy Panetta meets PM, NSA

New Delhi: Ways to strengthen military relations besides the security situation in the region is understood to have come up for discussion as US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta on Tuesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon.

The American Defence Secretary, who arrived here today, will hold detailed talks with Defence Minister AK Antony at a delegation-level meeting to be held tomorrow.

"During the meeting, the ongoing defence cooperation and regional security situation will figure prominently," the Defence Ministry said in a release.

The two sides are expected to talk about the security scenario in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the situation after the US troop withdrawal from there in 2014.

China is also expected to figure in the discussions between the two countries, which have been increasing their military cooperation in the recent past.

The Indian side is also expected to take up the issue of denial of dual-use items by the US to the laboratories under the DRDO.

The issue has been discussed earlier at the meetings of the Defence Policy Group also where India has demanded that the definition of dual-use items should be reviewed by the US authorities.

America's plans and decision to shift a bulk of its naval fleet including as many as six aircraft carriers to the Pacific by 2020 as part of new strategic focus on Asia can also come up for discussion.

The US side is also likely to push India to sign the long-pending agreements such as the CISMOA and LSA but it is believed that New Delhi will not change its position on the agreements.

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