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Strongly committed to transparent defence ties with India: US


NEW DELHI (PTI): Noting that India's rise as a global leader was in America's interest, the US has indicated its readiness to transfer of technologies in taking defence ties beyond buyer-seller relationship to that of co-development and co-production and complement Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' initiative.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Puneet Talwar, who is in New Delhi to explore ways to expand defence cooperation, said the Obama administration is modernising the American defence exports licensing system and would like to go for more joint production of military hardware with India.

Both the countries will hold extensive discussion on a range of issues including certain co-production and co-development projects, technology transfer, renewing the 2005 defence framework pact and regional security at the Political-Military Dialogue in New Delhi on Thursday.

Ahead of the dialogue, Talwar said the US was strongly committed to maintaining a "transparent and predictable process" in its defence supply and other ventures with India while noting the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) was aimed at reducing bureaucratic burdens and expedite technology-sharing and research.

He said the DTTI, through its emphasis on co-production and co-development, only complements Modi's "Make in India" initiative.

"India's rise as a regional and global leader, and its economic and strategic growth, are deeply in the US interest," Talwar said in address at the Institute for Defence and Strategic Analysis.

He said India and the US have been discussing more than a dozen co-production and co-development projects and hoped that there will be movement on some of these.

Talking about maritime security, he said both Modi and US President Barack Obama outlined their stand about the need to have freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region, especially in the South China Sea.

"We share a vision where all parties pursue resolution of their territorial and maritime disputes through peaceful means, in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea," he said.

Talwar said India, like the US, has important trade interests all along the Pacific and Indian oceans.

"Prime Minister Modi's 'Act East' policy - just like President Obama's rebalance to Asia - is rooted in the leading economic role that the Asia-Pacific is already playing in this century and beyond."

He added, "That's why both of our countries have such an important stake in maritime security. It's why we share a deep interest in a peaceful, rules-based order in the Asia-Pacific."

Referring to modernisation of defence exports licensing system, Talwar said over the past seven years, the average time to process a licence for India has dropped almost 40 per cent and less than one per cent of licences destined for India are denied.

On joint production, he gave the example of number of joint ventures.

"We hope to see more partnerships take hold, like those between Lockheed Martin and TATA to build C-130 components, and Sikorsky and TATA to build cabins for S-92 helicopters."

A number of US officials had visited India in the past few months to seek better defence ties.

Secretary of State John Kerry led the Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi in July.

The US official also hailed Modi's invitation to Obama to be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations.

"President Obama is deeply honoured to accept the invitation and to return to India in January. Not only will this mark the first time an American president will attend Republic Day, but it also marks the first time an American President will have visited India twice during his presidency," he said.

Talwar said a closer US-India defence relationship was in the interests of both the countries as well as to the world.

"We believe there is especially strong potential in the US-India defence relationship, which we want to translate into action."

He said the US was proud to hold more than 50 annual military exercises among all the services to train its troops.

Talwar also referred to MALABAR naval exercise in July and termed India as a leader in global counter-piracy efforts.

"India has shouldered a global responsibility not only on maritime security, but also in peacekeeping," he said.

"To us, our defence relationship with India is not transactional; it is an investment in our future together. We want to move beyond a buyer-seller relationship, towards one of co-development and co-production, where both our nations will benefit," he added.

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India  US  Defence  Technology  MALABAR  

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