US eyeing bigger slice of Indian defence pie
By Ritu Sharma | ENS - NEW DELHI
24th July 2012 08:57 AM
After its new military strategy for Asia-Pacific was received with apprehensions in India, the US on Monday went all out to step up bilateral defence trade and cooperation with India.
US Deputy Defence Secretary Ashton Carter, who was visiting India as a point person of US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, underlined the US commitment for Indian military’s modernisation and pitched for New Delhi to purchase high quality military equipment from Washington. “As a country committed to enduring peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region, India deserves the best military equipment available. And we are prepared to help. We want to be India’s highest-quality and most trusted long-term supplier of technology in such fields as maritime domain awareness, counter terrorism and many others,” Carter said at the function of Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).
Without naming Russia that has been one of the biggest co-developer of India in various military projects, the US also offered to step up military ties between the two countries to cooperating in important joint ventures. “We can conduct research and co-develop technologies together - like batteries and micro UAVs - good initial steps, with much more to come,” said Carter.
In the last 10 years, the Indo-US defence trade has been worth $10 billion and in 2011, only India has purchased military equipment worth more than $4.5 billion. Carter, in fact, added that government-to-government purchases from the US is in India’s strategic and commercial interests. The US Deputy Defence Secretary had met Defence Minister A K Antony earlier in the day. He also called on National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon.
Sidestepping the controversial issues of the US’ continuing aid to Pakistan and it propping up India as a counter to China in the region, Carter contended that the US strategy to deploy 60 percent of its military assets in the Asia-Pacific region by 2020 has nothing to do with China’s rise.
“Our rebalance is not about China or the United States or India or any other single country or group of countries: It is about a peaceful Asia-Pacific region, where sovereign states can enjoy the benefits of security and continue to prosper,” Carter added.
Carter said that the US is addressing India’s concerns on the US Export Controls and Technology security policies.
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