Panaji, March 27 (IANS) The US has never before worked so closely with India to bolster the latter’s indigenous capabilities, a US consular official said, adding that the presence of nearly 90 US companies at the DefExpo 2016 which gets underway here on Monday, was proof of its commitment to India.
Addressing a press conference here, US Consul General for Mumbai Thomas Vajda also dodged a question related to a comparison of the US defence co-operation with India and neighbour Pakistan.
“It is also unprecedented that US is working so closely with India to help build its own indigenous capabilities and to support India’s own strategy and desire to emerge as a regional and global leader,” he said adding that the relationship between the two countries went well beyond a buyer and seller relationship.
Asked to comment on the qualitative difference between US government defence co-operation between India and Pakistan, Vajda said: “Our relationship with India stands on its own “qualitatively and quantitatively different than our relationship with any other country in the region”.
Quoting US President Barack Obama, he said that in general, US aspires to be India’s best partner in all areas of collaboration whether it is education, health, etc and that defence collaboration was one of the most important pillars.
He also said that the US was keen on helping India facilitate its ‘Make in India’ initiative.
“We are clear that the Indian government aspires to increase domestic production of defence material and equipment and weapons and we think that American companies are worlds leaders in terms of expertise and technology,” he said.
US Army’s Material Command chief, Gen. Dennis Via said that the measure of interest US businesses had in the Make in India story was evident from the number of companies which were participating in the DefExpo 2016.
“I understand there will be over 90 US companies represented here at the Defence Expo. It is the largest representation outside of India itself and I think it demonstrates US commitment and the interest of our defence industry…” said Via who is a part of the US government delegation to the event.