Washington: Keen to diversify its weapons
procurement sourcing, India has told US to ease its export
control restrictions to allow high-end weapons technology
tie-ups between the two nations.
Saying that export control restrictions were a "matter
of concern", the Defence Minister A K Antony beginning his
crucial visit here said, "we want an early solution to that
(export control restriction)."
With the transfer of weapons technology and sale of
American armament systems and platforms high on his agenda,
Antony, ahead of his talks with top Pentagon officials here
said India now wants to transform its military-to-military
relationship from a buyer-seller to co-production and joint
production of armament systems.
India which was dependent on Russian technology and
armaments in the Cold War era has recently sought to diversify
its weapons purchases and concluded multi billion dollar deals
with the US to purchase weapon locating radars, giant
transport aircraft, new technology long-range naval
surveillance planes and giant warships.
US has expressed its readiness to sell India high-end
weapons technology, but Congressional export control
restrictions are coming in the way of sale of frontline weapon
Referring to these restrictions, Antony, heading a
high-level defence delegation comprising top officials from
his ministry and high ranking officers from the three services
told reporters on arrival, "Both countries have a stake in
strengthening military ties."
On procurements, the Defence Minister said that the
defence sales had increased steadily in high technology areas.
"Many are in the pipeline... some through multi-vendor routes,
many more would come."
In the course of his stay here, Antony would hold
wide-ranging talks with Defence Secretary Robert Gates,
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security
Advisor Gen (Retd) James Jones.
Echoing sentiments expressed by Antony, the US Defence
Secretary has said that Washington is keen to strengthen and
expand America`s military-to-military ties with India.
On India`s concerns over restrictions on export of
high technology items, Gates said that this was high on the
agenda and we would like to see these restrictions removed.