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India assisted Kabul mostly with economic and development aid and has helped build up the Afghan security forces by training Afghan police officers.

Training for Afghan soldiers extended to individual army officers who attended a multination course at the National Defense College in Delhi. There was no organized training of Afghan national army soldiers at Indian defense schools, but Afghan army soldiers have been attending courses at Indian military academies over the past few years.

Wrapping up a week of travel across Asia, Mr. Panetta said military cooperation with India is the linchpin to America’s defense plan to focus more on the region. And he said that the two nations must move beyond individual arms sales and increase both the quality and quantity of their defense trade.

“For this relationship to truly provide security for this region and for the world, we need to deepen our defense and security cooperation,” he said.

Mr. Panetta made only a passing reference to Iran in his speech and did not mention ongoing U.S. concerns that India continues to import large amounts of oil from Iran.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Panetta met with Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony and discussed increased defense trade and plans to conduct military exercises together. America’s defense ties with India have grown steadily since about 2000, including a substantial increase in arms sales, which now total more than $8.5 billion over the past 11 years.

Associated Press writer Nirmala George contributed to this report.