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Modi-Hagel talks focus on Afghanistan and terror

U.S. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel calls on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Friday. Photo: PIB   | Photo Credit: PIB PHOTO

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel on Friday discussed strategic geopolitical issues, including the deteriorating situation in Iraq and the post-poll deadlock in Afghanistan, while agreeing to increase cooperation in the Indian Ocean and the wider Asia-Pacific region.

Mr. Hagel said the U.S. wanted to be a partner in India’s military modernisation and recognised India’s need to strengthen its defence-industrial base. Mr. Hagel met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley. Delegation-level talks between the two sides, agreed to renew the Indo-U.S. defence framework agreement before it expired in July 2015. Mr. Modi said he looked forward to his U.S. visit “not just for what we can do for each other, but also as an opportunity to see how the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy can build a partnership for peace and stability.”

Jaitley accepts invitation to visit Pentagon

The U.S. and India on Friday agreed to take forward the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative forward and renew the India-U.S. defence framework agreement well before it expired in July 2015.

The decision was taken during delegation-level talks between Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and U.S. Secretary of State Chuck Hagel.

Co-chairing the Indian side will be Secretary, Department of Defence Production, while the U.S. will be represented by Frank Kendall, Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Licensing at Pentagon.

During the talks, Mr. Jaitley said India looked forward to working closely with the U.S. in the development of indigenous defence capabilities.

“The development of our own indigenous capabilities is a major objective that guides our present policies. In this direction, we have taken steps to raise the FDI cap in the defence sector. We look forward to work closely with the U.S. in this regard,” he said.

Mr. Hagel invited Mr. Jaitley to visit the Pentagon in October, which the latter accepted.

Diplomatic sources had earlier told The Hindu that negotiations between the two countries on the purchase of 15 Chinook heavy lift and 22 Apache helicopters had advanced significantly ahead of Mr. Hagel’s visit and the Defence Procurement Board was set to take a call on the $2.5 billion deal.

However, discussions on the procurement of the 145 M-777 ultra-light howitzers did not appear to see much progress.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 6:38:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/modihagel-talks-focus-on-afghanistan-and-terror/article6296712.ece

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