U.S. Defence Secretary Ashton Carter, who is in India for a three-day visit, said Tuesday after his meeting with Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar that India and the United States had agreed "in principle" to share military logistics. Parrikar, on his part, said the two countries would "aggressively" discuss cooperation in defence technologies.
Carter, who Monday visited Goa before arriving Tuesday in Delhi, had said India and the U.S. were "destined to be strategic partners in this century." He also referred to Parrikar as "one of the most important defence ministers in the world for me to interact with under any conditions," according to his official statement.
The two officials held bilateral talks in Delhi and addressed a joint press conference Tuesday.
"Today, India has more joint exercises with the United States than with any other country in the world. As our engagement deepens, we need to develop practical mechanisms to facilitate such exchanges. In this context, Secretary Carter and I agreed in principle to conclude a Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement in the coming months," Parrikar said, according to a Ministry of Defence statement.
"We have agreed in principle that all the issues are resolved. We now need to finalise the draft," Carter said, referring to the Logistics Support Agreement, which will allow the U.S. and Indian militaries to use each other's land, air and naval bases for purposes of refuelling and repairs, according to Reuters. India had earlier expressed concerns over sharing military logistics, fearing it would erode its traditional autonomy, the news agency said.
Carter and Parrikar also agreed to set up a new bilateral Maritime Security Dialogue, and also decided to expand Navy-to-Navy discussions to cover submarine-related issues.
Parrikar said he hoped to give a boost to the "synergies" between Indian and U.S. companies in high technology areas, and to promote participation of Indian companies in global supply chains.
"Secretary Carter is the architect of the India-U.S. Defence Technology and Trade Initiative [DTTI]. Both of us noted the strong complementarities between the DTTI and the Make in India initiative," the defence minister said.
"We have decided to take forward discussions under the DTTI more aggressively on key areas such as Jet Engine technology. We will also continue our very useful and productive discussions on cooperation in the framework of the Joint Working Group on aircraft carriers," he added.