The US is seeking deeper military ties with India who is the world largest arms importer. The aim is to win multi-billion dollar contracts for defence equipment and also to foster a closer strategic relationship with New Delhi.
One of the major steps in this direction is reforming United States export control system for sensitive dual-use technology and weapon systems for India.
In a speech in Washington, the US secretary of Defence Leon Panetta said the US administration is going to reform its export control system, which would benefit countries like India. It is obvious why the US is suddenly making changes to it’s long standing policy of stringent export control for sensitive items because the US is loosing out on billions of dollars of weapon deals from New Delhi. If it is not the US then it is Russia, Israel or the French who are willing to share hi-tech technology with a budding super power. India is not limited with options.
India is one of the major countries that will benefit the most from reformed US export rules as the Pentagon draws up plans to enhance greater cooperation with New Delhi.
The sale of defence equipment by the US to India has reached more than US$ 8 billion in recent years. However, Washington has lost a US$ 12 billion Indian contract for 126 Medium Multi-Role combat Aircraft, after a French company won the deal.
Russia however remains India’s major military supplier and will retain it’s position as the no. 1 defence partner with India. There are billions of dollars of contracts signed between the two countries. The two countries are also building a stealth fighter jet together. The project is valued at more than US $35 billion. With Russia’s vast scientific pool and India’s deep pockets, the two countries are forging deeper relationships with each other.
The US and India on the other hand hold more than 50 military exercises each year. Naval exercises in India’s territorial waters have taken place almost every year.
Since 2006, India has been fighting against maritime threats including piracy, smuggling and trafficking.
Observers point out that there was a time when the United States and India did not trust each other but today things are quite different. The relationship between the US and India is more than of an ally. It remains to be seen how best the two great democracies can benefit out of each other.
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