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CIA chief meets Chidambaram, discusses terrorism, Pakistan

March 19, 2009 11:49 IST

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United States' Central Intelligence Agency chief Leon Panetta on Thursday met Home Minister P Chidambaram [Images] and discussed various issues including terrorism and unrest in neighbouring Pakistan.

During the meeting, the two sides expressed satisfaction on the close cooperation between India and the US in the aftermath of the terror strikes on Mumbai [Images] in November, official sources said. The two sides also looked for new ways to forge closer alliance between the two countries in their fight against terrorism, they said.

Panetta, who arrived in New Delhi [Images] late on Wednesday night, will be holding discussions with Intelligence Bureau Chief Rajiv Mathur. Panetta, who is scheduled to go to Pakistan from India, will also meet National Security Advisor M K Narayanan and Research and Analysis WingChief K C Verma to discuss the security situation in neighbouring Pakistan and Afghanistan.

This is the third high-level visit by an US official to India since the Mumbai terror strikes, which began with Director of National Intelligence John Michel McConnell visiting the country in the third week of December last year.  Federal Bureau of Investigation's Director Mueller visited India on March 3.

The CIA chief will also hold talks with the country's top intelligence officials on security cooperation. Panetta, who chose India as his first overseas visit since assuming office, arrived here along with Peter Burleigh, a retired American career diplomat, as 'Interim Ambassador' [Images] to India, who will be Charge d' Affairs until the Obama [Images] administration finalises its nominee for the post.

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