WASHINGTON: India-US cooperation in defence technology and trade initiatives will be the focus of the US Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James when she travels to India later this month. A proposal to jointly produce aircrafts will also come up for discussion.
Ms James will be travelling to India as part of four nation tour which will see her travel to Indonesia, Singapore and Philippines also. Her talks with Asian countries will include discussions on the South China Sea controversy and threat of terrorism in the region.
While in India, Ms James will meet Chief of Air Staff Marshal Arup Raha and Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar to discuss a proposal to co-produce aircrafts in India, in-line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ policy.
“We will be looking to see how we can deepen our partnerships and take it to the next level,” Ms James said about the focus of her upcoming visit.
The United Sates is very interested in following up the defence and trade initiatives discussed during US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter’s visit to India in April, Ms James said. A proposal to assemble F-16 fighter aircrafts in India was made by US defence major Lockheed Martin in April to bolster India’s fighter jets and jet engine technology working group.
“I am also aware of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push for Make in India and the importance of creating new jobs. Proposal to co-produce certain aircrafts in India is one example of something that will be useful from a military standpoint but also might play into the Make in India campaign.”
Ms James said she also looks forward to “congratulating the Chief of Air Force in particular on what is I think a magnificent execution of the C-17 operation where Indian citizens were evacuated from South Sudan. Well done on that, well done.”
Asserting that the United States of America considers the recent ruling from The Hague on South China Sea to be “legally binding on all parties” Ms James said that Washington hoped “all of the claimants in the South China Sea will exercise restraint in the future and will work to lower tensions.” She added that the US stands “very firmly” behind the principle of freedom of navigation.
Original post @ndtv.com
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