New Delhi, Sept 7 : Defence Minister A. K. Antony has left on a four-day visit to United States to hold discussions on security cooperation and other strategic issues with President George W. Bush administration.
The visit is at the invitation of the US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates who visited India in February this year. Antony is accompanied by a high level delegation. The delegation will comprise of the Defence Secretary, Director General (Acquisitions) and senior three star officers from the Army, Navy and Air Force.
The last time the Defence Minister visited the USA was in June, 2005.
During his visit, the Defence Minister is scheduled to hold meetings with his counterpart, the US Secretary of Defense in Washington on important bilateral issues relating to defence.
He will also be meeting the National Security Adviser, Stephen Hadley and the US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. The US Government has arranged for full ceremonial honour for Antony at the Pentagon.
He is also scheduled to visit the Arlington National Cemetery and will lay a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Air Force Memorial.
Antony would be the first Indian leader to visit America after India specific Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver.
India and the US are looking at concluding key agreements to open the doors for the transfer of advanced technology form Washington to New Delhi.
It is expected that the discussions will include the regional security scenario and matter of mutual concern.