National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon conferred with United States Defence Secretary Robert Gates hours before the inauguration of the ninth Asia Security Summit here on Friday.

The summit is being organised by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Neither Dr. Gates nor Mr. Menon made an immediate comment on the talks. However, their meeting acquired unusual importance in the context of the just-concluded U.S.-India inaugural Strategic Dialogue in Washington.

In a series of bilateral talks, Mr. Menon met Ma Xiaotian, Deputy Chief of General Staff of China's People's Liberation Army. The two are scheduled to speak on “New dimensions of security” at a plenary session of the summit on Saturday.

Dr. Gates will address the summit on “Strengthening security partnerships in the Asia-Pacific” region.

Mr. Menon also held talks with Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean and Foreign Minister George Yeo on Friday.