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A senior Pentagon official told lawmakers here on Wednesday that the Biden administration is considering expanding its military and technical cooperation with India by not only supplying it with weapons and equipment but also by assisting New Delhi in developing its own defense industrial base.
“We want to… deepen our military-technical cooperation with India, which is focused on providing them with weapons and equipment so that we can create interoperable forces and capabilities, as well as work with India to establish its own defense industrial base So that India is able to manufacture equipment to fulfill its needs and be able to work with us and others around the globe,” said David Helvey, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs.
Helvey replied to a query from Congressman Doug Lamborn during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the Indo-Pacific by saying that India is a real partner and a growing partner of the United States.
“With India, we have a special designation: big defense partner,” he said.
“One of the things we’re prioritizing is looking at ways to operationalize this defense relationship with India so that we can look at ways to work together in the defense space in search of common goals based on our shared strategic interests,” he said.
Congressman Lamborn said, “I think we can all agree that it needs to be a stronger partner and a counterweight to China.” “What is the Biden administration’s policy for improving India’s economic and military ties?”
“One of the things we’d like to be able to do is draw on some of the fundamental agreements we’ve been able to achieve with India in recent years,” he says. Consider information security or logistics arrangements in which we can exchange more information with India so that we can establish a shared strategic understanding of the threats we face together.
In answer to the same issue, Admiral Phil Davidson, Commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command, said that during his tenure at INDOPACOM, there has been some opportunity to cooperate in the maritime and to assist a little bit in knowledge sharing, cold-weather gear, and other things like that with India’s challenges along the line of actual power.
Helvey said in his prepared testimony that America’s Major Security Partnership with India is deepening in South Asia as the two countries develop interoperability through increasingly complex exercises and rising defense trade, as well as increased information sharing and safe communications to resolve mutual concerns.
“After all of the foundational documents have been finalized, the relationship will now move forward. We’re also looking to establish new partnerships with Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, and the Maldives in order to work together to keep the region free and open “he said.