‘Indo-U.S. partnership will continue to deepen under new administration’

American officials point out that Secretary of Defence Austin’s first call was to his counterpart in India

The United States is committed to strengthening its partnership with India and deepening military-to-military relationship and cooperation, U.S. defence representatives said in a press conference ahead of Aero India 2021 on Tuesday.

U.S. Air Force Deputy Undersecretary, International Affairs, Kelli L. Seybolt said India was a major defence partner and one of the premier security partners of the U.S. in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Together, we are deepening defence ties through avenues like exercises, cooperative agreements, and the integration of advanced U.S. defence systems and platforms into the Indian armed services,” she said. The defence partnership between the U.S. and India would continue to deepen under the new administration. “We will work closer together and a good demonstration of that is the Secretary of Defence Austin’s first call was to his counterpart in India, and that speaks volumes,” she added.

Don Heflin, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, said, “India plays a key role in the Indo-Pacific region, and our cooperation advances our shared vision of a rules-based international order that promotes the prosperity and security of all countries.”

The growing number of joint ventures and partnerships between U.S. and Indian defence companies continue to strengthen the robust network of defence suppliers in India, with the potential of equipping partners in the broader Indo-Pacific region. These companies also create jobs, while exporting products to markets around the world, he added.

According to Lieutenant General David A. Krumm, 11th Air Force Commander, notwithstanding the recent dynamic international environment, the strength of the India-U.S. partnership has become only more apparent over the last year.

A high-level delegation of U.S. government officials and defence industry representatives, headed by Heflin, is taking part in Aero India 2021, starting on Wednesday.

A B-1B Lancer heavy bomber will perform a “fly-by” during the inaugural ceremony. It carries the largest conventional payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the U.S. Air Force and is considered the backbone of America’s long-range bomber force.

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