US agrees to expand defence trade cooperation with India

Last Updated: Fri, Jun 07, 2019 03:06 hrs

[USA], Jun 5 (ANI): The United States on Tuesday agreed to increase the defence trade relationship with India and batted for a broader security partnership in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Political-Military Bureau of the US State Department, in a statement, said, "India plays a vital role in the US vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific. Working alongside interagency partners, the Political-Military Affairs (PM) Bureau advances the defence trade relationship and broader security partnership between the United States and India."

"The PM Bureau has supported the increase in total defence trade with India from near zero in 2008 to USD 15 billion this year. The PM Bureau is committed to further streamlining US-India defence sales, which we facilitate through both the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) processes. These sales support thousands of jobs in both countries and help to ensure the health of both countries' defence industrial bases," the statement added.

The Bureau also said that the military sales to India include MH-60R Seahawk helicopters (USD 2.6 billion), Apache helicopters (USD 2.3 billion), P-8I maritime patrol aircraft (USD 3 billion), and M777 howitzers (USD 737 million).

"India was the first non-treaty partner to be offered a MTCR Category-1 Unmanned Aerial System - the Sea Guardian UAS manufactured by General Atomics. PM continues to support advocacy for the Lockheed Martin F-21 and Boeing F-18/A - two state of the art fighter aircraft that India is currently evaluating. These platforms provide critical opportunities to enhance India's military capabilities and protect shared security interests in the Indo-Pacific region," it added.

The statement further read that Washington, since 2008, has sold to India over USD 6.6 billion in defence articles via the DCS process. The top categories of DCS to India include aircraft, electronics, and gas turbine engines.

The PM Bureau is the US government lead for building peacekeeping cooperation with India. India is consistently among the top four contributors of military and police personnel to United Nations peacekeeping operations, with nearly 7,000 personnel deployed at any given time, it said.

The PM Bureau also supports increasing maritime security cooperation with other Indian Ocean partners, including Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

"PM continues to work closely with partners, particularly within the Quadrilateral mechanism, to coordinate capacity building and security assistance efforts to eliminate redundancies and to ensure we are not missing any critical gaps as we work to build the maritime safety and security capacity of our partners," the Bureau added. (ANI)