Washington: A senior Pentagon official has been appointed to lead the defence trade initiative dialogue with India, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Saturday.
"To further strengthen US-India defence ties, I am directing the Pentagon`s Undersecretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (Frank Kendall) to lead the US-India Defence Trade and Technology Initiative with India`s new government," he said at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
Started during the previous UPA regime, Defence Trade and Technology Initiative is aimed at removing bureaucratic bottlenecks in defence trade between India and the US.
It was also called Carter-Menon initiative as the Indian side was led by the former National Security Advisor, Shivshankar Menon, and the former Deputy Defence Secretary, Ashton Carter.
Hagel said he plans to play an active and very personal role in expanding this initiative because it is a centrepiece of America`s defence cooperation with India and it should reflect the trust and confidence President Obama and I have in our nation`s relationship with India.
"To reinforce this effort ? and to drive even more transformational cooperation ? I hope to visit India later this year," he said.
America`s global partnerships, he said, reach across the Asian continent and extend to India, one of the US` most important, democratic partners ? and a country with historic influence across Asia.
"The United States looks forward to working with India`s new government led by Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi. We welcome India`s increasingly active role in Asia`s regional institutions, which strengthens regional order.
"We also welcome India`s growing defence capabilities and its commitment to freedom of navigation in the Indian Ocean," Hagel said.