In fact, defense ties are expected to be a major issue of discussion when Prime Minister Singh meets President Barack Obama at the White House on September 27, the official said.

"India is a very good friend of the US. Relations have continued significantly over the last decade. Under the Obama Administration we have been making tremendous progress," Peter Lavoy, the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, said.

"We are very pleased with our relationship with India," Lavoy said, who recently accompanied the Defense Secretary on his South East Asia trip.

Though Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who has been on the job only for a few months, looks forward to his meeting with his Indian counterpart AK Antony, he said.

"The defense relationship is strong and we are looking forward to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to United States in which they would discuss a wide range of issues to improve relationships between the two countries," he said.


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