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US keen on developing new weapons with India

Last updated on: November 2, 2011 14:25 IST

US keen on developing new weapons with India

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Foreseeing India as a major military partner in the long-run, the United States on Wednesday said it was working to transfer some of its most advanced technology to New Delhi and offering co-development of weapon systems, including on the futuristic Joint Strike Fighter.

In a one-of-its kind report on India submitted to the US Congress, the Pentagon said it was also pursuing new avenues of collaboration in maritime security and counter-terrorism.

Envisaging building up of "robust" and "mutually beneficial" defence ties over the next five years, the report said that it is in US interest to support India's rise through military-to-military ties, arms sales and joint exercises.

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Image: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

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Asserting that it is in the US' interest to support India's rise through military-to-military ties, arms sales and exercises, the Congressional in its annual budget for the fiscal 2012 had sought a report from Pentagon by November 1 on a five-year action plan to strengthen bilateral defence ties.

 

The report noted that in less than a decade, starting at zero, the foreign military sales to India have shot up to approximately $6 billion.

 

The sales include C-17 and C-130J transport aircraft, TPQ-37 fire-finding radars, Self-Protection Suites (SPS) for VVIP aircraft, specialised tactical equipment, Harpoon missiles, Sensor-Fuzed Weapons, and carrier flight and test pilot school training.

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Image: C-130J Super Hercules

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Though the US companies lost in the race for bagging India's lucrative $10 billion contract for 126 jets, the Pentagon informed the Congress that it is seriously interested in making India join in the multi-nation project to develop the stealth F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Keen to develop deeper defence industrial cooperation with India, including a range of cooperative research and development activities, the Pentagon said the US "is committed to providing India with top-of-the-line technology".

The Defence Department also said it is exploring the potential of co-development of military weapons systems with India.

"As our relationship continues to mature we expect co development of armaments to become a reality," it said.

"Despite this setback (on MMRCA deal), we believe US aircraft, such as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), to be the best in the world. Should India indicate interest in the JSF, the US would be prepared to provide information on the JSF and its requirements (infrastructure, security, etc) to support India's future planning," the Pentagon informed the Congress.

"Over the next five years, we will continue to build the support structures necessary to ensure the maturation of a robust and mutually beneficial defence relationship with India in the Asia-Pacific and globally," the Pentagon said.

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Image: Joint Strike Fighter

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The Department of Defence said it wants to enhance its co-operation in the field of maritime security and all-important counter-terrorism, especially through special operations engagements.

The report also noted that the Indo-US military-to-military ties have grown both in size and sophistication, with as many as 56 joint exercises being conducted between the two sides, more than any such cooperation being conducted by India with any other country.

 

"Deepening maritime security cooperation with India holds great potential over the next five years across a range of issues, including, but not limited to, maritime domain awareness, countering piracy, and HA/DR (humanitarian assistance/ disaster relief)," it said.


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Image: File photo of an Indo-US military exercise

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On the counterterrorism front too, the US looks for enhanced cooperation with India to combat the terrorist threats emerging in the region, including groups like Lashkar-e-Tayiba that also pose threat to India.

 

"Lashkar's activities continue to threaten US interests and South Asian regional stability. Therefore, we will continue to follow the guidance of our National Strategy for Counterterrorism which calls for joining with key partners, like India, to share the burdens of our common security goals," it said.

 

"In doing so, we will seek to expand counterterrorism cooperation with India, and our current special operations engagements in the region will continue to focus on the mutually beneficial ways in which we can enhance each other's capabilities," the Pentagon said.

 

The Pentagon said it plans to conduct increasingly complex joint and combined exercises with a focus on counterterrorism, maritime security, and HA/DR across all of the Services.

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Image: File photo of an Indo-US military exercise

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