Asserting that the United States offered the highest level of technology to India for its fighter jets, a top Pentagon official expressed his disappointment on New Delhi's decision not to opt for those but added that India US relationship is not predicated on any one sale.
"I was really amazed and impressed with the level of technology we had agreed to release to India in these fighter aircrafts. This is the level of technology we had not looked to release to anywhere," Robert Scher, deputy assistant secretary of defense for South and Southeast said.
He expressed hope that the experience gained from bidding process of fighter jets would help the US companies to get more business from India in the future.
"(India's decision) surprised many people on both sides," he said in response to a question after delivering his remarks on India-US defense relationship organised by New American Foundation, a Washington-based think tank.
"I am absolutely disappointed. But understanding that how these sales fit within our overall strategy and the value of this relationship, I think we would continue to work from and subsequent sales are frankly easier because the work we did with very high profiled sale upfront," he said.
However, Scher said India-US relationship was not predicated on any one sale.
"Although military sales are deeply intertwined with defense cooperation, they are not the only indicator or marker of our success. I view defense sales as a mechanism to enable new training and exchange opportunities between our militaries," he said.
"We are also now enabling new levels of technology transfer through our defense sales. And importantly, there is an economic aspect to these sales, which supports the bottom line for US industry and in many cases, helps lead to job creation," he said.
Noting that in 1990s, India and the US had virtually no defense trade relationship, he said "today it is nearing $6 billion in Foreign Military Sales alone, not counting Direct Commercial Sales."
It's clear that the Indian military of the future will routinely use US equipment, in all services, across a full range of mission sets," he said.
"In February, I had the honour of attending the C-130J induction ceremony at Air Force station Hindan with the chief of staff of the US Air Force, general Schwartz.