Aim is to make India a military logistics hub for US, Allies: Pentagon

Pentagon skirts query on concern over ‘press crackdown in India’

pentagon-pat-ryder-ap Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder speaks at a press briefing in the Pentagon Briefing Room, in Washington | AP

With military industrial cooperation becoming a pivotal dimension in the warming India-US ties, the US Department of Defense or The Pentagon has said the objective is to make India a logistics hub for the US and its allies.

Responding to a media question, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder said on Thursday: “The aim here is to make India a logistics hub for the United States and other partners in the Indo-Pacific region. And so we intend to support India in the creation of logistics, repair, and maintenance infrastructure for aircraft and ships.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is already on an official visit to the US where he attended a state banquet on Thursday hosted in the Indian PM’s honour by US President Joe Biden. On Wednesday, Modi also attended a private dinner with President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden.

The two leaders have already inked a raft of defining military pacts including joint development and production of aero-engines for fighter aircraft and MQ9B combat drones.

Interestingly, Brig Gen Ryder also added that more was to follow. “We’ll have much more to follow in the near future… much more to follow in the days ahead but that is obviously something that will be important as we work together to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Significantly, the Pentagon skirted a query on whether there is US concern on a ‘press crackdown in India’ and ‘lack of transparency on military issues’.

Explaining that while the White House emphasises on the importance of a free and open press, Brig Gen Ryder said he would not speak for India. “So I’m not going to speak for India, in terms of its own policies.”

“In terms of our relationship with India, again, I think the world's two largest democracies, we have a lot to gain from working together, in terms of preserving peace and stability and security in the region. And so going forward, that will continue to be our focus.”

On the administration of the India-US Defense Acceleration Ecosystem, or INDUS-X, the spokesperson explained: “There will be a senior advisor group that will assess progress of this collaboration and make recommendations to both the defense establishments in India and the United States and other INDUS-X stakeholders for future work.”

“Members of that group will include the U.S. Institute of Peace, Carnegie India, the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, and the Society of Indian Defense Manufacturers.”

INDUS-X focuses on the expanding strategic technology partnership and defence industrial cooperation between India and the US in terms of the two governments, business, and academic institutions.

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