New Delhi: The US Thursday described the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) agreement with India for co-development and co-production of defence equipment as a "commitment to our shared future" in bilateral ties.
Senior Pentagon official Frank Kendall, during a talk here, said the DTTI would strengthen bilateral military-to-military ties, re-energize defense industrial partnerships and expand regional cooperation.
Kendall, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, said DTTI supports Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "vision of a vibrant and self-sufficient Indian defense industrial base".
"It also fortifies long-term partnerships with robust American defence companies for mutual benefit, and creates jobs in both our two nations. DTTI aims to promote science and technology cooperation at the research, co-development and co-production stages ... and hopefully even defence exports at some point," he said at the Observer Research Foundation.
Kendall said that since 2008, over $9 billion in defence contracts had been signed between India and the US.
"Today, we are focused on pursuing four pathfinder projects and supporting two cooperative activities that have been announced by the ministry of external affairs.
"These include: an industry mini-UAV initiative; an industry proposal Roll-on/Roll-off mission modules for C-130 and other aircraft; Government-to-government cooperation on Mobile Electric Hybrid Power Sources; Government-to-government Uniform Integrated Protection Ensemble Increment.
"Both sides are also exploring potential cooperation on Jet Engine technology and aircraft carrier technology.
"While these pathfinder projects have stand-alone value, we intend for them serve as pathfinder or pilots for deeper levels of cooperation between our businesses, our militaries and our people," he added.
"I envision a day when American and Indian engineers sit side-by-side - or at least virtually - producing cutting-edge designs...to be produced in partnership."
Earlier in the speech, he said the India and the US "have had some twists and turns along the way".
"A clear eyed view of our past shows that Indian and American perceptions of international affairs have differed; Our national interests have not always overlapped. And our domestic politics have not always promoted close defence cooperation.
"But times have changed. Today, regional and global events pull America and India together as never before," he said, adding that bilateral perceptions of security challenges were converging.
"On the most important issues of today - and tomorrow - our interests increasingly overlap," he said.