US Defence Secretary Begins India Visit

by
Joon
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has arrived in India to hold talks on the new US strategic focus on Asia.

US defence secretary begins India visit

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has arrived in India to hold talks on the new US strategic focus on Asia.

Mr Panetta will hold talks with PM Manmohan Singh on the opening day of his two-day visit to India.

Last November, President Barack Obama announced that the Asia-Pacific region was a "top priority" for US security policy.

His comments were seen as a challenge to China, which is striving to be the main regional power.

Mr Panetta is expected to hold talks to boost military ties between India and US.

He is also expected to discuss the Nato-led war effort in Afghanistan and China's growing economic and military powers in the region.

Mr Panetta will meet Defence Minister AK Antony and National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon during his visit.

The AFP news agency quoted anonymous American officials as saying that India and US shared similar interests and concerns over China as well as threats posed by extremists.

"Strategically, we see India as a partner with a lot of common interests," a senior defence official said.

Mr Panetta is on a nine-day tour of Asia which has included visits to Vietnam and Singapore.

Correspondents say the tour is an attempt to shore-up American power in the Asia-Pacific region in the face of growing Chinese influence.