US to build strong security relationship with India: Panetta

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Singapore, Jun 2: US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta on Saturday said his visit to New Delhi would focus on building a strong security relationship with India. "The visit would be to affirm our interest in building a strong security relationship with the country, which I believe will play a decisive role in shaping the security and prosperity of the 21st Century," Panetta said in his address to the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

He underlined the importance of India, along with Vietnam and other South East Asian countries as well as Australia and New Zealand as part of the US strategy for supporting peaceful environment in Asia Pacific. Panetta visits India from June 5. Panetta said would be visiting Vietnam after attending the Shangri-La Dialogue which opened on Friday with a keynote address by the Indonesian President H Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Panetta said he would advance bilateral defence cooperation building off the comprehensive memorandum of understanding that was signed last year between the United States with Vietnam.


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