Hagel in New Delhi to expand defense ties with India

Updated: 2014-08-08 09:09


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WASHINGTON - US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in New Delhi Thursday on his first trip to India as the defense chief is seeking to expand common interests and renew a defense framework agreement set to expire next year, the Pentagon said.

"I'm going to find if I can more ways where we can develop opportunities to work together," Hagel told reporters aboard his plane en route to New Delhi from Germany.

Up for discussion, Hagel said, are a number of specific projects covered by the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative, part of ongoing efforts by the Obama administration that began two years ago aimed at taking US-India defense cooperation to a new level.

"We are doing more than we've ever done military to military with India with joint exercises. We want to continue to build on those exercises. It's a high priority for me to continue to build on progress that we've made in the past."

During meetings with Indian leaders on Friday, Hagel is expected to discuss areas in which the interests of both countries can be expanded.

"One is to see if I can help advance a renewal of the defense framework agreement," the secretary said. "Second, to see if we can make some progress on getting a better understanding from the Indians what specific projects they may have interest in that fit within the framework of the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative."