US, India To Strengthen Defence Ties

Although India was worried about how things would work out on the political, economic and other fronts under Donald Trump’s leadership in Washington, it seems there is no such concerns on the bilateral defence ties.
During their recent telephonic conversation, Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his American counterpart General James Norman Mattis agreed to “sustain and take forward” the momentum of expansive bilateral defence relationships. Mattis assured the Indian minister that defence ties would be the keystone of overall strategic partnership between the US and India, saying that the Donald Trump administration was ready to maintain the pace and momentum of this partnership.
Meanwhile, senior Pentagon spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis has expressed satisfaction over the outcome of Mattis-Parrikar talks, saying: “Defence Secretary Mattis is committed to build upon the tremendous progress in bilateral defence co-operation made in recent years, underscoring the strategic importance of the US-India relationship and India’s role in advancing global peace and security.”
Davis also thanked Mattis and Parrikar for affirming their commitment to maintain the momentum on key bilateral defence efforts to include the “Defence Technology and Trade Initiative”.
The Indian Defence Ministry, too, issued a statement, saying that the two leaders were happy with the progress in bilateral defence co-operation in recent years. According to the statement, both Mattis and Parrikar “emphasised the special significance and high priority placed by both countries to the relationship and resolved to work together to further consolidate and expand this partnership in the future”.
It means there will be no change in the US’ plan to manufacture C-17 Globemaster-III, Poseidon-8I, C-130J Super hercules, M-777 ultra-light howitzers, Apache attack helicopters and Chinook heavy helicopters in India.
As far as other joint defence projects are concerned, New Delhi and Washington have decided to co-produce F-16, F/A-18 fighter jets, aircraft carrier technologies and jet engines, mobile electric hybrid generators, futuristic helicopters and infantry combat vehicles.
In January, Parrikar sent a letter to General Mattis, congratulating him after his appointment as Pentagon chief. “It is early in the new administration. But the fundamentals are good for it to continue,” he said. The Indian minister stressed that former Defence Secretary Ashton Carter was instrumental in US declaring India a ‘major defence partner’.

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