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PM Modi’s go to to US to set new benchmarks for bilateral ties: Pentagon

4 min read
Press Trust of India

By Press Trust of India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s go to to the US this month will set new benchmarks for bilateral ties and a few “really big, historic and exciting” bulletins are more likely to be made on defence cooperation and boosting India’s indigenous army industrial base, the Pentagon has stated.

Prime Minister Modi will embark on his first state go to to the US on the invitation of President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden this month. During his four-day go to beginning on June 21, the US president and the First Lady will host Modi for a state dinner on June 22.

“When Prime Minister Modi comes here to Washington for a State Visit later in the month, I think it will be a historic visit setting new benchmarks for the relationship,” Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner stated throughout a panel dialogue on the Center for New American Security on Thursday.

“I think it (the visit) will be looked back upon similar to how the Japan two plus two earlier this year was a pivotal moment in the relationship. People will be looking back on this visit by Prime Minister Modi as a real springboard for the US-India relationship,” he stated.

Mr Ratner stated US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited India not too long ago to advance numerous bilateral points and put together the bottom for the prime minister’s go to to Washington by finalising specific agreements and initiatives that the 2 nations are engaged on.

“Among the priorities are clear strategic alignment around the question of co-development and co-production between the United States and India on the defence side. This is a priority for Prime Minister Modi to strengthen India’s indigenous defence industrial base, as well as advancing the military modernisation,” he stated.

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US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and his Indian Indian counterpart Ajit Doval in January launched the initiative for crucial and rising know-how (iCET) to attempt to bolster know-how cooperation between the US and India.

“I know there have been efforts at this in the past. Sometimes there’s skepticism around, is it going to be real this time? And my answer is, I think, all signs are pointing toward yes, it’s going to be real and we’re going to have some really big, historic, exciting announcements out of the prime minister’s visit in terms of particular projects around defence industrial cooperation,” Mr Ratner stated.

“We are also enhancing our operational coordination in a number of different places. A lot of focus on the Indian Ocean, a lot of focus on the undersea domain, as well as new domains, space and cyber and new efforts around information sharing,” he stated.

“If you look at the development of the US-India relationship, it’s really unbelievable how far the relationship has moved over the last couple of decades. That’s true now more than ever,” he stated.

Ely Ratner stated the 2 nations are seeing growing strategic alignment.

“From our perspective, from India’s perspective, we do share a vision again for a free and open Indo-Pacific. A strong US-India partnership is a critical ingredient to realising that vision. That’s what both sides have understood that from India’s perspective and from the US perspective, that a closer partnership is going to be essential to the manifestation of that vision,” he stated.

The US, India and a number of other different world powers have been speaking about the necessity to guarantee a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific within the backdrop of China’s rising army manoeuvring within the area.

China claims practically the entire disputed South China Sea, although Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all declare elements of it. Beijing has constructed synthetic islands and army installations within the South China Sea.

“One of the major thrusts of the bilateral defence relationship and one of the things we were talking about, while we were in Delhi, is this ongoing US effort to support India’s military modernisation,” Mr Ratner stated.

“The integration of our defence industrial base is more co-production, co-development, and I think that is based upon the belief that a stronger India that can defend its own interest and its sovereignty is good for the United States,” he stated.

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