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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

India, U.S. Reach Pact On Defense

NEW DELHI -- India and the United States on Thursday signed a military cooperation agreement they regard as a historic breakthrough in their once stormy relations.

"This accord is the first important step by India and the United States toward achieving normal security relations in more than 40 years," said U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry.

The accord will increase cooperation between the U.S. Department of Defense and India's Ministry of Defense and set up more joint military exercises and training programs.

"The agreement will allow us to forget the past and improve our relationship in a new atmosphere," said Home Minister S.B. Chavan.

On his three-day visit, which began Thursday, Perry is not expected to spend much time discussing sensitive issues, such as strained Indo-Pakistan relations, the two countries' nuclear programs or their dispute over Kashmir.

During the Cold War, India's top ally and arms supplier was the Soviet Union, and its U.S. relations often were distant.