New Delhi, Feb 27 : US Defence Secretary Robert Gates on a two-day visit to India met his counterpart A. K. Antony here today.
Gates arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday to pursue closer strategic ties with India after a breakthrough aircraft deal; the Pentagon thinks could usher in a new era of defence cooperation.
Gates' visit to India, the world's second-fastest growing economy, also reflects the interest of both the US and India to counterbalance the rise of China, defence officials said.
In his meetings with Indian officials during his two-day visit, Gates will make a sales pitch for American defence manufacturers competing against international rivals for a fighter jet contract potentially worth 10.2 billion dollars.
Earlier this month, India agreed to buy six Lockheed Martin Corp C-130J military transport planes worth about 1 billion dollars, a deal that marked a major shift in weapons-buying policy of India.
India now wants to buy 126 multi-role fighter jets, and US manufacturers Lockheed Martin and Boeing Co. are competing for the contract.
Also in the race are Russia's MiG-35, France's Dassault Rafale, Sweden's Saab KAS-39 Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon, made by a consortium of British, German, Italian and Spanish companies.
Gates' visit to New Delhi comes a week before India's March 3 deadline for bids.