U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta would travel to India on a two-day official visit in the first week of June, the Pentagon has announced.

The India trip, the first to the country by Panetta in his capacity as the Defence Secretary, is part of his week-long Asia trip during which he will participate in the Shangri-la Dialogues and travel to Vietnam.

“Developing the U.S.-India relationship is a priority for the United States government, and our bilateral relationship is one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century for the United States,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday.

Mr. Panetta would arrive in New Delhi from Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, on a two-day visit to India in the first week of June. While the exact dates were not announced, it is expected to be around June 5 and 6.

“We’ll have more details about the Secretary’s itinerary in the coming days,” Little said.

“On Wednesday (May 30), before departing for Asia, he’ll fly to Honolulu. He’ll receive briefings from PACOM commander Admiral Sam Locklear and meet with service members stationed in Hawaii. From Hawaii we will head to Singapore,” Little said.

“On Saturday (June 2), Secretary Panetta will deliver remarks at the opening plenary session of the Shangri-la Dialogues. While in Singapore, he is scheduled to meet with leaders from Singapore, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and a number of other nations,” he said.

Following a stay in Singapore, the secretary will travel to Vietnam for a two-day visit. From there, the Secretary will travel from Hanoi to Delhi for a two-day visit to India, Little said at a Pentagon news conference.

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