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India-US military-to-military relationship deepens: commander

Friday, Apr 15, 2016,11:07 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Washington | The military ties between India and the US have deepened as forces from both the countries increasingly participate in joint training and military exercises, a top American commander has said.

The new found momentum in our bilateral relationship with India represents Pacific Command’s (PACOM) most promising strategic opportunity, US Pacific Command Commander Admiral Harry B Harris told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing yesterday.

The US/India military-to-military relationship deepens as forces increasingly train and operate together. USPACOM intends to add momentum to an important relationship, Harris said. Through this end, I have made improving the military-to-military with India a formal Line of Effort at USPACOM, he said.

In January last year, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed a Joint Strategic Vision of the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region, Harris said, adding that the landmark document presents shared views and interests for the region.

In June last year, during Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s visit to India, the two countries renewed the ten-year Defense Framework Agreement. The US and Indian militaries participated together in three major exercises and 62 other military exchanges in 2015 covering scenarios ranging from high-end warfare to humanitarian assistance and disaster response, Harris said.

The US-India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) further expands opportunities. Defense sales are at an all-time high and US-sourced airframes, such as P-8s, C-130Js, C-17s, AH-64s and CH-47s, increase interoperability. USPACOM will advance the partnership with India by expanding the scope of military-to-military interactions, Harris said.