Bengaluru, Feb 2 (PTI) The United States' defence
ties and cooperation with India will continue to deepen under
President Joe Biden-led administration, a top ranking US
official said on Tuesday, citing common interests.
"....the declaration of India as a major defence
partner of United States was huge milestone, that was done
under the previous administration and we want to continue to
deepen our cooperation," US Air Force Deputy Undersecretary,
International Affairs, Kelli L Seybolt told reporters here.
Responding to a question about possible "changes" in
defence ties with the new administration taking over in the
US, she said her expectation is that the deepening of
cooperation will only continue because "there is so much
common interests in doing so, as we all look for secure and
"So our expectation is that things will continue to
grow in our defence ties and relationship, and we'll work
closer together....the good demonstration of that is- the
Secretary of Defence Austin's (Lloyd J Austin III) first call
was to his counterpart in India (Defence Minister Rajnath
That speaks volumes..," she added.
A high-level delegation of US government officials
and defence industry representatives is taking part in the
Aero India 2021, the country's premier defence and aerospace
exhibition, starting here from Wednesday.
Among the highlights of the show, a B-1B Lancer
heavy bomber, of the 28th Bomb Wing based out of Ellsworth Air
Force Base in South Dakota, will perform a "fly-by."
US Charg d'Affaires Don Heflin, speaking about the
defence cooperation between India and his country, said there
is deepening of familiarity, compatibility and
interoperability between the militaries of the two nations.
"The United States is a reliable partner to India's
defence sector offering the world's best defence
equipment.India plays a key role at the Indo-Pacific region
and our cooperation advances our shared vision of a rules
based international order that promotes prosperity and
security of all the countries," he said.
Responding to a question on "Aatmanirbhar Bharat"
(self-reliant India) and possible impact on sharing of
critical technologies to Indian firms, Heflin said, India's
defence procurement is an issue for the Indian government to
He said, "US recognises that India desires to
produce more of its military equipment. We understand that,
and look forward to a growing partnership in this effort, as
this process unfolds, India will widely need to widely develop
certain key capabilities, with careful use of outside
procurements, to realise this ambition of a vibrant indigenous
defence industrial sector."
"Also, India-US defence partnership goes beyond defence
manufacturing and trade, we have signed foundational defence
agreements and our military is engaged in joint exercises such
as 'Tiger Triumph' and 'Malabar'," he added.PTI KSU RS BN