India and the US can work outjoint ventures to upgrade defence capabilities if New Delhi is perceived as "a friend and a focal point" in Asia, former Indian Army chief Gen (retd) V K Singh has said.
There is great scope for cooperation in defence technology between the two sides and things will move at a faster pace if Indian military officials are given a greater role in talks with the US, Singh told PTI in an interview.
"There is a great (scope for) cooperation that can be worked out as a joint venture between the two to upgrade capabilities if the US thinks that India is a friend and a focal point for it in Asia," he said.
"If you look at the policies, it is looked at from that point of view some time back. But that now has to be converted into concrete action." Noting that the US is a hub of technology, Singh said there is so much that can be shared in the armament, aviation and naval sectors that it can ensure great economic benefit to the US and technological benefit to India.
"I think there is some reservation in the US on sharing this technology with India. I think it is to mutual advantage of both countries," he said.
India is looking at technology, and not hardware. "It has got great capabilities, especially the private sector in India, to manufacture anything, provided the technology is available," he said.
Singh claimed the Indian system dominated by bureaucrats is preventing "real military-to-military" talks between India and the US and, as a result, the real potential of defence ties between the world's two largest democracies is not being realised.
Singh, the only Indian general to be inducted into the International Fellow Hall of Fame at the prestigious US Army War College, pushed for strong defence ties between the two sides when he headed the Indian army during March 2010-February 2012.