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India-US defence sales at all time high: Pentagon

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Defence sales between and the US are at an all-time high and bilateral strategic partnership continues to advance at an historic pace, a top has said.

Philips Davidson, of the (USINDOPACOM) told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, during a Congressional hearing said the the inaugural 2+2 Ministerial in last September and signing of the COMCASA in 2018 were pivotal moments in the bilateral relationship.

Last year, and the US signed the COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) to facilitate interoperability between the two militaries and sale of high

"The US-strategic partnership continues to advance at an historic pace as we continue to increase our interoperability and information-sharing capabilities," he said.

The USINDOPACOM expects this trajectory to continue and that 2019 will be a significant year in bilateral relations, he said and asserted that the two largest democracies of the world are natural partners on a range of political, economic and security issues.

"With a mutual desire for global stability, support for the rules-based international order, and a Free-and-Open Indo-Pacific region, the and India have an increased agreement on interests, including maritime security and maritime domain awareness, counter-piracy, counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance, and coordinated responses to natural disasters and transnational threats," Davidson said.

Over the past year, the and Indian militaries participated in five major exercises, executed more than fifty other military exchanges, and further operationalized the 2016 Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), he informed the lawmakers.

"The LEMOA enables the US Navy to replenish supplies from logistics platforms, he said.

Davidson said that the US Indo Pacific Command is working with the to operationalise the COMCASA.

"Defence sales are at an all-time high, with India operating US sourced platforms such as P-8s, C-130Js, C-17s, AH-64s, CH-47s, and M777 howitzers," the top American said.

"Additionally, India recently agreed to a USD2.1-billion purchase of MH-60R multi-role sea-based helicopters and is considering a number of additional US systems for purchase,"Davidson said.

The US Indo Pacific Command fully supports the purchase of US systems, and aircraft, a reorder of 12-15 P-8Is, and a potential purchase of Sea Guardian UASs, he told members of the US pacific Command.

Observing that the goal of the US Indo Pacific Command in is to create and seize opportunities to broaden critical partnerships to ensure shared domains remain open to all, he said in conjunction with India's contributions to regional security, these actions will prevent adversaries from establishing an effective military presence in the that threaten the security of vital commerce and continued economic growth and development.

"As a result, the regional states will be able to reduce internal conflicts, respond to regional security challenges, and resist adversaries' military and economic coercion," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, February 13 2019. 00:35 IST