US to help India’s defence

The US is ready to help India’s defence needs with the latest technologies and equipment, but New Delhi purchasing long-range S-400 missile defence system from Russia would limit cooperation, the Trump administration has cautioned.

US had warned earlier too that New Delhi’s deal to procure the lethal missile system from Moscow will have “serious implications” on India-US defence ties.

Someone closest to the US President had said that the US now does more military exercises with India than any other country. Under the Trump administration, US is ready to help meet India’s defence needs and US is seeking a very different kind of defence partnership building on the ‘Major Defence Partner’ designation that India has received from Congress. US has been working out the strategy to make India-US ties as robust and as meaningful as possible.

The US says that what causes concern with the S-400 is that it effectively could limit India’s ability “to increase interoperability”. It is the case that 10 years ago US did not offer the range of military equipment to India that it is prepared to offer today. US is very much engaged in a conversation with India over how the two can broaden their defence relationship.

Signing of COMCASA agreement between the two countries was a key step forward which allows for the classified sharing of information, which is one of the basic foundational agreements that foster military interoperability.

So both the US and India are making significant strides forward in their military relationship. Over the last 10 years, India-US defence trade has increased from zero to $18 billion. US wants to expand defence relationship with India but US is concerned about the fact that about 65 or 70% of India’s military hardware is Russian origin.

US is India’s largest and best market. Twenty per cent of India’s goods come to US. There is Indian Foreign Direct Investment in the US. There’s a huge interest by US firms in India. Prime Minister Modi’s preoccupied with job creation and attracting Foreign Direct Investment is going to be a key part of that strategy. Properly conducted trade can be a huge strength to the relationship

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