The United States Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel began his three-day interaction with the new NDA-government meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday, wherein they discussed not only strategic defence ties but also the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Modi expressed his concern about the deteriorating situation in Iraq under the Islamic militants, just a day after the US administration had announced the authorization of airstrikes if necessary against Islamic militants in the Middle Eastern country.
Before his arrival, Hagel had made clear his intention to revive the ten-year-old defence framework agreement with India, with a vision to make a new agreement for 2015-25.
The two governments are also reported to soon strike a defence deal worth $1.4 billion, with India set to place big orders for the US Chinook attack helicopters and Apache gunships. India plans to purchase 22 Apache attack helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers from the US, along with four P-8I anti-submarine warfare aircraft, according to NDTV.
The US official's visit comes just two days after the Union Cabinet cleared the proposal to raise the cap of foreign direct investment in defence to 49 percent.
The US defence sales to India have grown to more than $9 billion since 2008, Reuters reported, and India is keen on replenishing its old stockpile of Soviet-era aircrafts.
The Indian Army has separately requested a fleet of at least 39 of the US attack aircraft, some of which will be deployed as part of a new mountain division along the disputed border with China, an army official told Reuters.
Modi called for progress between the defence relations of the two nations, particularly in defence manufacturing in India and defence technology transfer, along with higher studies in the field of defence. India is said to be the largest buyer of defence supplies of the United States.
Hagel is visiting India after six years and in his first meeting with the newly elected Modi government, he describes India's significance in shaping "a new world order."
"When you look at the world today, India not only represents one of the most significant countries by any measurement in the world today, but will help shape a new world order that is emerging in this young century," he had told the media when travelling to India.
Hagel's visit comes a week after the US Secretary of State John Kerry visited India. Modi is set to visit Washington next month.