India-US defence relationship on excellent path: Pentagon

Pentagon [US], Jan. 4 : Pentagon has asserted that the defence relationship between India and the United States is on an excellent path and will continue to be so in the next administration and beyond.

"We think the defense relationship with India is on an excellent path and will continue to be so in the next administration and beyond," said Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook.

The statement assumes significance as it comes days ahead of President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration.

"Our relationship with India, you've seen the commitment made by this department and this secretary of defense (Ashton Carter) and -- and this administration to improving our defense relationship with -- with India," Cook said.

"And that's, obviously, there's several aspects to it. There are limits on what we can do in terms of technology -- the export of technology to India or any other country," Carter, who is known as a friend of India and strong believer in a robust India-US defence relationship, is the only American Defence Secretary to have so many trips to India.

Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Carter in December had finalised India's designation as a "Major Defence Partner" of the United States, institutionalising the progress made to facilitate defence trade and technology sharing with India to a level on par with the United States' closest allies and partners, and ensures enduring cooperation into the future.

"On change in export control laws of the U.S that would help India acquire better defense and technology," the Pentagon Press Secretary said.

"And we'll continue to abide by -- by the law and to work with India in -- in places where we can, where it's appropriate for that kind of -- for specific technology to be exported.

Again, not just to India but to -- to any country, but we're gonna follow the law," he added. The India-U.S. defence relations in recent years have moved along a remarkable upward trajectory. Marked progress on agreements, including the signing of a Defense Framework Agreement in 2015, have laid a blueprint for collaboration between our defense establishments and enabled deeper cooperation.

Joint exchange opportunities - in both personnel and training exercises - have expanded and strengthened our bilateral cooperation.

The recent signing of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) has facilitated additional opportunities for practical engagement and exchange.

Source: ANI