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India and US discuss defence cooperation

INVC,, The US Secretary of Defence Dr. Robert N Gates met the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in New Delhi, today. Dr. Gates was accompanied by senior officials from the US Department of Defence. The Defence Secretary Shri Pradeep Kumar and other senior officials from the Ministry of Defence were also present during the meeting. During the meeting, both sides exchanged views and perspectives on a number of issues including the regional security situation and global security challenges. Shri Antony and Dr Gates both expressed satisfaction about the improvement in bilateral defence relations since the signing of the bilateral cooperation agreement in 2005. Both sides also expressed optimism about the prospects for enhancement of bilateral defence relations in all areas, including military to military interactions and in the area of defence trade. The two Ministers also discussed prospects for cooperation between both sides in the protection of the global commons and in the area of maritime security and counter-terrorism. Shri Antony conveyed to Dr. Gates the Indian concerns regarding denial of export licenses for various defence related requirement of the Armed Forces and also regarding the inclusion of some Indian Defence PSUs and DRDO labs in the ‘Entity List’ of the US Government. Shri Antony expressed the view that such restrictions were anomalous in the context of the steady improvement in the bilateral defence relations between both countries. The US Secretary of Defence informed Shri Antony that President Obama has intiated a comprehensive reform of US export control regulations and assured that this would involve facilitation in the supply of defence technology and equipment to India. Defence Minister Shri AK Antony convyed the view that the bilateral defence trade relations between India and the USA should move from a purely buyer-seller relationship to a more comprehensive relationship covering transfer of technology and co-production. Further referring to the US Government’s proposal to conclude certain umbrella agreements like CISMOA, etc. Shri Antony expressed the view that the proposed agreements would need to be assessed from the view point of the benefits which would accrue to India.

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