US Defence Secretary Hagel meets PM Modi, discusses military ties

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, who arrived here last night on a three-day visit to India, met Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday.

By Ritesh K Srivastava | Last Updated: Aug 08, 2014, 18:14 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava

New Delhi: US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, who arrived here last night on a three-day visit to India, met Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday and held talks to strengthen military ties between the two countries reaffirming the Barack Obama administration`s keen interest in actively engaging with the new NDA government in New Delhi.

Hagel also called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval during his 3-day visit.

As per sources, Hagel met Sushma Swaraj early this morning as the latter is scheduled to leave on a visit to Myanmar in a short while.

This is Hagel`s first visit to India in his current capacity.

Hagel will also meet chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha.

He discussed military ties between the two countries, including partnership in defence hardware.

His visit comes as part of high-level visits from the US after formation of the new Indian government May 26. US Secretary of State John Kerry visited India July 30-Aug 1.
Defence ties between India and the US have expanded over the years with the armed forces of both countries also conducting regular joint exercises.

During a stop in Germany Wednesday, Hagel said he wants to not only strengthen the military-to-military relationship between Inidia and the US but also discuss security, stability and other issues.

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to raise foreign direct investment (FDI) in the defence sector to 49 percent from the present 26 percent.

Sources said there could be discussions during Hagel`s visit about India procuring heavy-lift and attack helicopters, anti-submarine jets and transport aircraft from the US.

(With IANS inputs)