Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US this month will set new benchmarks for bilateral ties, the Pentagon has said.
It also said big announcements are likely to be made on defence industrial cooperation and boosting India’s indigenous military base.
Modi will embark on his first state visit to the US at the invitation of President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden this month. They will host Modi for a state dinner on June 22.
“When Prime Minister Modi comes here to Washington for a state visit later in the month, I think it will be a historic visit setting new benchmarks for the relationship,” Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, Ely Ratner said during a panel discussion at the Center for New American Security on Thursday (8).
Among the priorities are clear strategic alignment around the question of co-development and co-production between the United States and India on the defence side. This is a priority for Modi to strengthen India’s indigenous defence industrial base, as well as advancing the military modernisation, he said.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and his Indian Indian counterpart Ajit Doval in January launched the initiative for critical and emerging technology (iCET) to try to bolster technology cooperation between the US and India and there is a very strong defence component of that the two countries are looking to advance.
“I know there have been efforts at this in the past. Sometimes there’s skepticism around, is it going to be real this time? And my answer is, I think, all signs are pointing toward yes, it’s going to be real and we’re going to have some really big, historic, exciting announcements out of the prime minister’s visit in terms of particular projects around defence industrial cooperation,” Ratner said.
“We are also enhancing our operational coordination in a number of different places. A lot of focus on the Indian Ocean, a lot of focus on the undersea domain, as well as new domains, space and cyber and new efforts around information sharing,” he said.