Panetta’s India visit: Af-Pak, military cooperation on mind

The situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan are expected to come up for discussions American Defence Secy Leon Panetta, will have with Indian leaders.

New Delhi: The situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan and strengthening of military cooperation between India and the US are expected to come up for discussions American Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, who arrives here tomorrow for a two-day visit, will have with Indian leaders.

During the delegation-level discussions between Defence Minister A K Antony and Panetta on June 6, China is also expected to figure in talks between the two sides, officials said here on Monday.

However, the two sides, which have seen a significant increase in military hardware cooperation in recent past, are not going to sign any defence deal during the visit.

India`s concerns over the situation emerging out of the planned withdrawal of US-led NATO troops from Afghanistan in 2014 and the present security scenario there are expected to be deliberated on by the two countries, the officials said.

The issue of Indian concerns over Pakistan`s role in aiding and abetting terror in the region and supply of arms and ammunition by the US to Islamabad are also expected to figure in the talks.

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 American 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 eyeing the US.