In what could be seen a step forward to further defence and strategic ties between the India and US, Trump administration is tipped to move major defence agreements with India that will make it easier to share classified data and facilitate the sale of F-16 and F-18 fighter jets to New Delhi.
The Trump administration last month told Congress that it “strongly supports” the sale of F-18 and F-16 fighter jets to India and asserted that the proposals have the potential to take the Indo-US defence ties to the next level.
There are important defence agreements that the two countries can move forward on, Alice G Wells, acting assistant secretary of state for the South and Central Asian Affairs, told the press.
“This is a dynamic relationship which really hasn’t begun to see the potential yet,” Wells said.
The agreements will make it easier for the US to share classified data and that will facilitate sales like the F-16 or the F-18 fighter jets and will help create a defence technology partnership, which is what India is seeking, but which will also create jobs for Americans at home, she said.
Wells had accompanied US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on his just concluded trip to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
“This was an extremely friendly, very wide-ranging dialogue on how we can partner together on the strategic relationship that we think is going to define the rest of the 21st century,” Wells said.
“We want to build on the June visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the President (Donald Trump). We’d like to deepen the military-to-military cooperation that has moved very quickly; over the last decade we’ve gone from zero to 15 billion in defence sales.
“We’d like to expand the bilateral trade and investment dimension of the relationship. We have about USD 115 billion in trade, USD 40 billion in bilateral investment,” Wells said.
Later in November, the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump will attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit which is going to bring together 1,300 entrepreneurs and investors, demonstrate the entrepreneurial spirit of the relationship.
(With inputs from Agencies)