The US Secretary of Defence Mr. Leon Panetta met the Defence Minister Mr. AK Antony here today. Mr. Panetta was accompanied by a ten member delegation, including the US Ambassador to India and other senior officers from the US Department of Defence. The Indian delegation included the Defence Secretary Mr. Shashikant Sharma, Secretary (Defence Production) Mr. Shekhar Agarwal and the Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, Dr. VK Saraswat.
During the delegation level talks which lasted about an hour, both sides took note of the ongoing bilateral cooperation between India and the US in the area of defence. They agreed that there were opportunities for enhancing bilateral ties in area of mutual interest and concern.
During the discussion of the defence trade, Mr. Antony emphasized that the priority for India is to move beyond the buyer-seller transactions and to focus on transfer of technologies and partnerships to build indigenous capabilities.
The US Secretary of Defence assured the Indian side that the US Government will initiate measures to facilitate technology access and sharing.
Both sides also exchanged views on the security situation in South Asia, West Asia and the Asia-Pacific and on various global security challenges, including in the area of cyber security.
With regard to the security concerns the Asia-Pacific, Mr. Antony conveyed that India supports unhindered freedom of navigation in international waters for all. At the same time, with regard to bilateral issues between countries, he stressed that it is desirable that the parties concerned themselves should settle contentious matters in accordance with the international law. Mr. Antony emphasized the need to strengthen the multilateral security architecture in the Asia-Pacific and to move at a pace comfortable to all countries concerned.
Earlier on his arrival at South Block, Mr. Panetta was accorded a traditional tri-Service Guard of Honour and laid wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate.