US remains deeply confident in India’s diversification of defence equipment: Pentagon

Washington: Pentagon says it will continue to urge allies and partners to avoid transactions with Russia

BY and | Wednesday, 21 June, 2023
The Pentagon, headquarters of the United States Department of Defense (PC: David B. Gleason)

The US remains deeply confident in India’s diversification of military equipment and believes that Washington’s proposal for industrial cooperation will further integrate the defence industries of the two countries, the Pentagon has said.

Pentagon’s Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday that the US encourages all its partners and allies to avoid transactions with Russia.

“We welcome Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the United States this week. (Defense) Secretary (Lloyd) Austin visited India just two weeks ago and was able to meet with his counterpart (Rajnath Singh) there. What we always will continue to urge our allies and partners around the world is to avoid transactions with Russia,” she said, referring to the sanctions imposed on Moscow.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting the US from June 21-24 at the invitation of US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden.

“We remain deeply confident in India’s diversification of equipment, and over the past decade, our proposal for industrial cooperation will further integrate the US and Indian defence industries. So, I think I’ll just leave it at that,” Singh said.

“That’s something that we’ve continued to reiterate with Turkey, with India, and with others. I think, there are very different and two different cases, and when it comes to India, we remain confident in their diversification of equipment and our ability to integrate with them as well,” she said.

“I’m not going to get ahead of any announcements that might come out from the White House or any other agencies,” Singh said when asked about the possible defence deals that could be signed during Prime Minister Modi’s visit.

India signed a USD 5 billion deal with Russia in October 2018 for purchasing five units of the S-400 air defence missile systems, despite a warning from the previous Donald Trump administration that going ahead with the contract may invite US sanctions.

The S-400 is known as Russia’s most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system. The Triumf’ interceptor-based missile system can destroy incoming hostile aircraft, missiles and even drones at ranges of up to 400 km.

Russia started delivery of the first regiment of the missile systems in December 2021 and it has been deployed to cover parts of the border with China in the northern sector, as well as the frontier with Pakistan.

In February this year, Russia said it will soon complete the supplies of the third regiment of the S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems to India as both sides are committed to the contract.

Russia has been a major supplier of military hardware to India. The two countries have been holding discussions on what kind of payment mechanisms can work between them in view of the Western sanctions on Moscow.

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