US Defence Sec coming next month, defence deals on agenda

Written by: Pti
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New Delhi, May 18: Pending bilateral defence deals may figure in the upcoming talks between US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta and his Indian counterpart, AK Antony. Panetta is slated to visit India in June.

Panetta's visit will be the first by a US Defence Secretary after ties between the two countries were strained last year following India's rejection of two US contenders from the bid for a contract for supply of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft to the Indian Air Force.

The two sides are also likely to sign some deals, including the one for 145 Ultra Light Howitzers. The discussion between Panetta and Antony may also include the pending deals like Logistic Support Agreement (LSA) and Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for geo-spatial ties, sources said.

The leaders will also discuss pending defence deals and explore ways to boost ties, sources added.

The two sides have enhanced military cooperation with an increase in military exercises and sale of weapon systems to India by the US. In the last five years, India has procured weapon systems worth over USD 8 billion from the US. The list includes C-130J and C-17 transport aircraft, P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft and naval warships.


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