Dehli, Hanoi on Panetta’s Asia Trip Agenda

After visiting Singapore to participate in the 10th annual Shangri-La dialogue at the beginning of June, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is scheduled to visit Vietnam and then India as part of his week-long Asia trip that began on May 30, according to US defense officials. “We’ve had a really good trajectory with Vietnam over a number of years,” said one of the officials. Panetta plans to discuss with Vietnamese officials in Hanoi how the two countries can continue building military-to-military ties and will thank them for assistance in finding and recovering the remains of missing Americans from the Vietnam War, said the officials. From Vietnam, Panetta will stop in Delhi, India, to meet with Indian officials to build relations with a “partner with whom we have a lot of common interests and a lot of areas where we can work well together,” said one of the officials. Panetta will discuss the implications of the US strategic guidance for India, the results of the recent NATO summit, and long-term trends in South Asia, added this official. “We’re trying to have a relationship with India that is broad, strategic, and continual,” said the official. (AFPS report by Jim Garamone)