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2015 was an unprecedented year in defence relationship as India and the United States began merging their critical defence and strategic needs, said U.S. envoy Richard Verma in a year-end statement.
“We held the first-ever Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, merging our commercial and strategic issues to help power the growth of both our countries. We established secure lines between our two National Security Advisers, and between the President and Prime Minister, so that important, time-sensitive issues could be tackled directly by our leaders. We launched a trilateral ministerial dialogue between Japan, India and the United States, and we entered into a Joint Strategic Vision for cooperation across the Asia Pacific with India,” Mr. Verma said.
Just ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the U.S. in September, the Cabinet Committee on Security approved USD 2.5 billion deal for 22 Apache attack helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy lift helicopters. The Apaches will be the first offensive military platform India has contracted from the U.S. as the big ticket sales used to be logistic and transport-related in nature.
Mr. Verma also noted that Manohar Parrikar became the first Indian Defence Minister to visit the U.S. Pacific Command in the first week of December 2015. During Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s visit to the U.S. both sides agreed to expand the scope of the projects under DTTI (Defence Technology and Trade Initiative). A list of projects is currently being prepared in both countries which are expected to be exchanged in the next couple of months.
The ambassador pointed out that the year saw the United States reach out to India seeking help in episodes of crises.
“We called upon India for help to evacuate U.S. nationals from Yemen, and we worked together with India and others to help the people of Nepal after a devastating earthquake. We elevated our strategic partnership to “strategic plus” – signifying that we work together at a much higher level, in more places, and on more different subjects,” he said.
“President Obama was the first U.S. President to be the Chief Guest for India’s Republic Day ceremonies in January. Months later, Secretary of Defence Carter was the first Defence Secretary to visit an Indian military command,” said the envoy.
From: The Hindu