Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his meeting with visiting US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel on Friday expressed concern about the deteriorating situation in Iraq and its potential implications for the region, where India has vital stakes, according to a PMO statement.
During the meeting, the Prime Minister was briefed on the announcements made by US President Barack Obama on the steps the US plans to take to deal with the situation in Iraq. The US has authorised “targeted airstrikes” against Islamic militants to protect American military personnel and airdrops of meals and water to thousands of religious minorities trapped on a mountaintop in northwest Iraq.
On the bilateral front, Modi welcomed the sustained high-level engagement by the US with the new government here. He told Hagel that he looked forward to his visit to the US “not just as an occasion to think in terms of 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, stability and prosperity in the world”, the PMO statement said.
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Modi is expected to travel to Washington towards next month end for his first summit meeting with Obama.
The Prime Minister underlined the importance of defence relations in the overall strategic partnership between the two countries and indicated his desire to see further progress in defence relations, including in defence manufacturing in India, technology transfer, exercises and higher studies in the field of defence.
The situation in Afghanistan also came up for discussion during Hagel’s meeting with Modi. The Prime Minister noted that an early completion of the election process in Afghanistan, which enjoys the confidence of the people there, and smooth transition of power is essential for sustaining progress towards peace, stability, democracy and development in the strife-torn country. They also discussed their shared interest in peace and stability in wider Asia Pacific region.