US wants to deepen defence, bilateral relationship with India

FPJ BureauUpdated: Thursday, May 30, 2019, 02:37 AM IST
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Washington : The US wants to deepen military relationship and expand bilateral trade with New Delhi which will ease the sale of the F-16 and F-18 jets to India and will also help create a defence technology partnership, a top American diplomat has said.

  “This is a dynamic relationship with really” hasn’t “begun to see the potential yet,” Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs and Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Alice G Wells, told here. Wells accompanied Tillerson on his just concluded trip to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

“This was an extremely friendly, very wide-ranging dialogue on how we can partner together on the strategic relationship that we think is going to define the rest of the 21st century,” Wells said.    While there was a bilateral component to the visit, but they talked about how the two countries with shared values – a respect for democracy, transparency, freedom of navigation, for economic development – can inculcate these values in the broader Indo-Pacific region, working with important partners like Japan and Australia.

“Tillerson’s visit to Gandhi Smriti was very moving, and again, really was a touchstone for what unites – that this relationship is very much one built on values,” she said adding that the Secretary of State laid out a lot of ambitions for the relationship.

“We want to build on the June visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the President, and just say, How do we take this relationship to the next level?,” she said.

“Obviously, we’d like to deepen the military-to-military cooperation that has moved very quickly; over the last decade we’ve gone from zero in defence sales to 15 billion in defence sales,” Wells said.

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