A high-level Indian delegation, led by National Security Advisor MK Narayanan, currently in the US to iron out difference over the implementation of the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, held talks with senior American functionaries on bilateral defence cooperation and regional security issues.
The US side was led by Secretary of State for Defence Robert Gates. Besides Narayanan, other members of the Indian delegation included Ambassador of India to the United States Ronen Sen, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon, Deputy Chief of the Indian Mission here Raminder Singh Jassal and Joint Secretary of the Americas of the Ministry of External Affairs Gaitri Kumar.
While the precise nature of talks last night was not divulged, sources said the two sides exchanged frank and candid views on bilateral defence cooperation and regional and other security issues.
The Indian delegation is in Washington for four days of sensitive and critical exchanges with their American counterparts focussing primarily on the civilian nuclear cooperation agreement, especially nailing of the 123 Agreement.
But members of the Indian delegation, collectively and individually, will be meeting senior officials of the Bush administration on issues pertaining to the broader aspects of the bilateral relationship as well.
"There is more to India-United States relations than the civilian nuclear agreement," remarked a source when asked for the rationale of the top Indian delegation meeting with the US Secretary of Defence.