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Antony to visit US, discuss strategic ties

india Updated: Sep 04, 2008 22:04 IST

Defence Minister AK Antony will lead a high-level delegation to the US this Sunday as part of efforts to strengthen military and strategic relations between New Delhi and Washington.

Though Antony has already discounted suggestions that he would be signing important defence agreements during the four-day visit, he is expected to discuss with his US counterpart Robert Gates issues aimed at furthering the already northward-moving ties between the two largest democracies of the world.

The Defence Minister is scheduled to hold meetings with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Washington on important bilateral issues relating to defence, top Defence Ministry sources said today.

Going at the invitation of the Gates, who was here in February this year, Antony will be in US three years after the then Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee had visited Washington in June 2005.

During his visit, the Defence Minister is also scheduled to hold meetings with US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and top Bush Administration officials.

The discussions are expected to revolve around regional security scenario and matters of mutual concern, sources said.

Antony's delegation would comprise Defence Secretary Vijay Singh, Director General (Acquisitions) S K Sharma and senior three-star officers from the Army, Navy and Air Force.