PHOTO BY: Credit: Spc. Ashley M. Armstrong, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska—Senior leaders conduct a troop inspection during a ceremony celebrating the beginning of the annual joint and bilateral training exercise Yudh Abhyas 2010 during a ceremony at Bukner Gym, here, Oct. 31. YA is an annual training exercise designed to strengthen ties between the armies by expanding operational and cultural knowledge with a training focus on peacekeeping operations.

Indian and US Army senior leaders conduct a troop inspection during the Yudh Abhyas opening ceremony of the annual joint and bilateral training exercise at Buckner Physical Fitness Center, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska



Washington, DC – Top US Senators representing the powerful Senate India Caucus on Friday released a letter addressed to the Pentagon urging a closer defense relationship with India, emphasizing the value of such a strategic move to build military cooperation between the two democracies.

Sending the letter on the eve of the visit of US Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to India, Senators John Cornyn and Mark Warner noted they believed it was time to consider the potential for a US partnership with India to co-develop or co-produce military weapon systems.

Republican Cornyn and Democrat Warner, both co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus, which is comprised of 38 senators and is the largest country-specific caucus in the US Senate, said in the letter, “We see the partnership between our two democracies as critical to the maintenance and expansion of a rules-based international system that promotes freedom, democracy, security, prosperity, and the rule of law in the 21st century.”

“Recent US arms sales have benefited the US and India alike, increasing commonality of military equipment platforms, providing expanded opportunities to conduct joint military exercises, and contributing to security in the Indo-Pacific region, the letter stated.

“With these interests in mind, and with the goal of further expanding US-India defense trade, we encourage you to actively engage with your Indian counterparts to develop ways to improve the compatibility of the defense acquisition systems of the United States and India,” the US lawmakers wrote.

Highlighting the extensive plans by India to expand its military modernization program, which is projected to cost an estimated $80 billion by 2015, the Senators noted that, “numerous prospects exist for the US to further expand defense trade and cooperation with India.”

Addressing specifically Carter to keep in mind during his visit in India, the senators wrote, “As we know you agree, recent US arms sales have benefited the US and India alike, increasing commonality of military equipment platforms, providing expanded opportunities to conduct joint military exercises, and contributing to security in the Indo-Pacific region.”

“With these interests in mind, and with the goal of further expanding US-India defense trade, we encourage you to actively engage with your Indian counterparts to develop ways to improve the compatibility of the defense acquisition systems of the United States and India,” the bipartisan letter reiterated.

The current relationship between the two militaries is based on the Agreed Minute of Defense Relations. The 10-year agreement signed in 2005 stresses an “enhanced level of cooperation” between the two military forces as well as the defense industry and technological development.

With the growing US-India military-to-military ties, there has been a dramatic increase in joint exercises between the two forces, with as many as 56 cooperative events in 2011, more than India has conducted with any other country, a Pentagon report to Congress said last November.

“US-India military exercises have grown dramatically in size, scope and sophistication. We now have regular exercises across all services that help to deepen our military and defense relationships,” the Pentagon said in its report. (IATNS) 

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