"In the long run, the United States benefits from an Indian military with all the capabilities it needs to meet its growing regional security responsibilities," said the outgoing Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.
Carter, considered to be architect of the new India-US defense policy along with the National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, wrote in an op-ed in the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine. To step up defense cooperation with India, the US has taken measures, including relaxation in export control measures and offers of exclusive co-development and co-production of hi-tech military hardware. "Even as we face budget turmoil and political gridlock at home, working toward this goal -- quietly, patiently, but ultimately effectively -- is what the re balance is all about," Carter said as he listed out a series of steps that the Obama Administration has taken in recent months to give a new thrust to the India-US defense relationship.
"We're adapting the US export control system in order to more easily release sensitive technology to India. Export controls may be one of the more esoteric areas of defense policy, but because they enable US partners' access to technology that we must otherwise protect, they are also one of the most important," Carter wrote.
The Pentagon is taking aggressive action to speed responses by US bidders when the Indian government issues requests for proposals. "Within DoD, we're streamlining our technology-licensing processes so that US industry can generate faster responses and thereby be more competitive within the Indian system.
"Often, this means we complete anticipatory reviews of projects before they are even officially released. These changes not only lay the groundwork for more sophisticated cooperation, but make us more competitive for every sale," Carter wrote.
India and US are growing their joint science and technology collaboration. American researchers who seek and find Indian partners in key research areas will receive priority funding for their projects, an incentive previously only offered to the United Kingdom and Australia, he said. "In addition to maintaining a robust pipeline of defense sales, we're taking unprecedented steps to identify innovative proposals for defense items that the United States and India can co-produce and, in the true measure of our common goal, co-develop," Carter said.
"We've already proposed to our Indian counterparts several promising ideas from US industry, including an unprecedented offer, exclusive to India, to co-develop a next-generation anti-tank weapon that would address a key requirement for both of our armies. And we're committed to increasing our engagement with industry partners in both countries so that we can identify the best ideas to meet our overlapping security needs," Carter wrote.
As someone who has watched the bilateral relationship mature over a number of years, Carter said he has come to believe that the United States and India are increasingly natural partners on the world stage. "Though we may not always share identical policy prescriptions, we do share a common set of values and objectives," he said, adding that the interest of the two countries overlap. "From trade and investment to education, global health, energy, the environment, and defense, India and the United States share common goals on many of the world's most pressing challenges and opportunities," he said. (PTI)