India's armed forces may soon undergo modernisation with the United States' help. A top American commander has offered help to India to jointly work towards improving India's military capabilities in "significant and meaningful" ways.
India and America have been engaged in a steady defence trade over the last decade. The trade --which has touched nearly $15 billion -- is expected to sprint up by a few more notches in the next few years, as India is planning to acquire the latest military hardware including fighter jets, latest unmanned aerial vehicles and aircraft carriers from the US.
"I believe that the US is ready to help India modernise its military. India has been designated a major defence partner of the US. This is a strategic declaration that's unique to India and the US. It places India on the same level that we have many of our treaty allies," Commander of the US Pacific Command or PACOM Admiral Harry Harris told PTI
"This is important, and I believe that together we will be able to improve India's military capabilities in significant and meaningful ways," added Harris.
The Commander has not been pushing for a strong India-US defence relationship but also seems to be fairly happy with the level of defence cooperation that exists today between the two sides.
Pointing out at the successful Malabar exercise series, that India, US and Japan had participated in, Harris also stressed on the need of including Australia in the exercises.
We could explore together bringing Australia into the exercise. That has merit. There are a lot of common interests in the Indian Ocean, between Australia and India," explained Harris.
"But that's really a decision for India to make, and then a decision for Australia to participate, if so invited. I'll leave that to those two countries," said Harris, while adding that India and the US can do a lot together.
"I'm pleased that India is a participant in Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), the Pacific exercise that's hosted every other year in Hawaii. I'm pleased in general with where the relationship is going, and I look forward to more as the years progress," Harris said.
He also added that they are ready to participate at whatever level India wants them to participate at.