The visits by the three senior US officials in quick succession lays the ground for the summit meeting in Washington between Modi and Obama Sep 29-30. Hagel met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Aug 8, and Defense and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley later in the day. Modi told Hagel he looked forward to his visit to the US in September which would provide "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". In their talks on defense cooperation, both Modi and Jaitley raised the issue of enhancing indigenous defense production, a point the prime minister stressed.
Modi indicated his desire to see further progress in defense relations, including in defense manufacturing in India, technology transfer in the area of defense, exercises and higher studies in the field of defense. Modi raised the Afghanistan political situation where the dispute between the two presidential candidates on the veracity of the election has caused concern.
Hagel was accorded a ceremonial reception at South Block by the three services. During talks with Jaitley, the two sides decided to take steps for a new defense agreement to replace the 10-year defense framework agreement that expires next year and also agreed to take the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative forward. Both sides discussed their bilateral defense ties and agreed to "further enhance bilateral defense cooperation, especially in technology and discussed ways for strengthening this partnership".
Jaitley stressed on indigenisation of the Indian defense industries. Hagel also met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
While flying to India, Hagel told reporters enroute: "(The) point of my trip here is to take advantage of the opportunity to meet with a new Indian government." "I'm here to pursue different possibilities and options that have been initiated over the years. We have a number of things, specific projects that we will discuss. One is the renewal of the 10-year defense framework agreement," he told reporters accompanying him on the visit. The US defense secretary also described India as one of the most significant countries in the world and would help shape a "new world order" that is emerging in this century.
"The relationship between the US and India certainly for our interests, for the US' interests, and I think for India's interests, as well as the Asia Pacific, but also global interests, is important. "And where we can find common interests, where we can share areas that help promote our own countries', our own economies' stability, security, peace, trade, technology, then we need to take that initiative and we need to do that," he said.