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Defense and security ties between India and the US are stronger than ever: Ambassador Sandhu | India News

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WASHINGTON: The defense trade between India and the United States, which has grown significantly in a short period of time, now stands at $ 21 billion, said India’s envoy here, stating that bilateral military and security ties are stronger. never.
India’s Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, said that the designation of India as ‘Senior Defense Partner’ and the conformity of Strategic Trade Authorization Status-1 by the US and the signing the four fundamental agreements with Washington will improve cooperation between the two countries’ military.
India has signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), the Industrial Safety Annex and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) to facilitate thousand-to-thousand cooperation .
“Our defense and security ties are stronger than ever,” Sandhu told PTI in a recent interview.
“Our defense exercises, in bilateral and plurilateral formats, have increased in both frequency, scope and coverage. The recently concluded Malabar Exercise with the United States, Japan and Australia has been another important initiative, ”Sandhu said, responding to a question about the defense relationship between India and the United States at the beginning of the Biden administration.
“Our defense trade has grown significantly in a short period of time, and today it stands at more than $ 21 billion,” he said.
In the framework of the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative, launched during the administration of former President Barack Obama, the two countries have been working together for the co-production and joint development of defense equipment, he added.
“Our industries and innovators have been working together to map out reliable supply chains in next-generation defense technology and to carry out joint R&D, manufacturing, innovation and experimentation in new cooperative domains,” Sandhu said.
“We work closely together to ensure a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific. Consistent with our shared strategic interests, we will continue to work together and further strengthen our defense and security partnership, ”he said.
US defense acquisitions have been an area of ​​notable growth in the last decade. India has acquired around $ 18 billion in defense goods from the United States since 2008.
India already has several US military platforms and equipment and many of those proposals for new acquisitions are in the pipeline. Defense procurement activities are controlled through the Defense Procurement and Production Group (DPPG), whose last meeting took place in Washington DC on June 7-9, 2018.
According to a recent report by the Brookings Institute think tank, America’s defense and security relationship with India is a modest but important piece of the broader Indo-Pacific agenda of the Biden administration and one that will require constant investment and recalibration. instead of a major redesign.
“Ultimately, the administration’s defense ambitions with India will only be realized if it works to rebuild a broader bilateral relationship that is not disproportionately dependent on defense and security ties; is disciplined about setting and resourcing its Indo-Pacific priorities; is realistic about the limitations of India; and is willing to invest in high-level commitment at the leader and cabinet levels to maintain an ambitious agenda, ”said the Brookings report.
The Brookings report argued that the United States can do more to articulate its key priorities by engaging India on security issues: first, by supporting India’s rise as a constructive global leader and counterbalance to Chinese influence; second, limit China’s ability to coerce India and other South Asian states; and third, mitigate the risks and allow the reduction of the inevitable India-Pakistan and India-China crises.
He also advocates setting reasonably ambitious defense and security goals and avoiding crude conditionalities that are likely to backfire.
According to Benjamin Schwartz, former director for India in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, former US President Donald Trump boosted defense trade with India and failed.
“Biden’s team will drive cooperation on COVID-19, climate change and regional diplomacy and is likely to be successful in building defense trade despite the lack of prioritization,” he told PTI.
“The reason (s): Biden has hired the best people to work on the issue (Cara Abercrombie and Sumona Guha as Senior White House Directors, for example) and created a functional government process,” she said.
More and more Indian government officials recognize the value of tangible defense cooperation with the United States in handling threats from Beijing, Schwartz said.
“From intelligence sharing to combined planning and some level of joint operations, we can expect the military relationship between the United States and India to continue to grow,” he said.
“However, technology transfer will probably not be the fastest growing area because India’s military relationship with Russia is not likely to decline or be isolated in a way that allows for closer integration of India’s defense systems. with those of the United States. military, “Schwartz said.
“The relationship would benefit from both parties focusing on areas of mutual interest that do not involve the most sensitive military technologies,” he said.

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