Ties between the US and Indian militaries are growing, a senior defense official said on Friday, noting recent bilateral security talks between the two countries reaffirmed the partnership and the growing US interest in advancing it.
Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller joined Indian Defense Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma in co-chairing the 12th annual US-India Defense Policy Group dialogue in New Delhi Feb 21 and 22.
Speaking during a media roundtable on Friday, Obert Scher, deputy assistant secretary of defense for South and Southeast Asia, said the trip, Miller's first since assuming his post, demonstrates the US' commitment to its relationship with India, Xinhua reported.
Scher noted that India is the only country the new strategy guidance specifically identifies for increased engagement, reflecting the priority both US President Barack Obama and the Pentagon place on the partnership.
The annual Defense Policy Group meetings aim to advance the two countries' strategic defense relationship, enabling them to set priorities, take stock of progress and work through hurdles that stand in the way, Scher said, focusing on defense procurement and production, technical cooperation, military-to-military cooperation and technical security.
Scher said that Miller and Sharma agreed to continue concentrating on maritime security cooperation, defense trade and developing new, cooperative research and development projects for the upcoming year.
Both expressed an interest in increasing personal interactions at all levels in their defense and military establishments through continued dialogue, exercises, personal exchanges and training associated with defense sales, Scher said.