'Boeing deal reflects growing ties with India'



Washington: The United States has described India's proposed purchase of 10 Boeing C-17 Globemaster heavy-lift transport aircraft in a $4.1 billion deal as indicative of growing military and humanitarian ties between the two countries.

The deal announced during President Barack Obama's India visit "will double the value of US-Indian defence trade and provide the Indian Air Force with a strategic airlift and humanitarian response capability that, frankly, is unique in the region," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Tuesday.

"It will broaden India's capability, for instance, to provide humanitarian assistance to people devastated by natural disasters," he said.

"It will also allow them to deploy peacekeeping troops around the world and to evacuate its citizens from areas of civil strife anywhere in the world," Toner said.

"And I would just say that this deal is indicative of our growing military and humanitarian ties. This kind of airlift capability, as I said, is pretty unique and it's a significant step forward for India," he added.

"The future of India and US relations is bright," said Toner asking Indians no to see the US aid to Pakistan "as a zero-sum game."

"A strong, stable, peaceful, and prosperous Pakistan is in the interest of the region. That goes without saying," he said.

"What we're trying to do in Pakistan is to build democratic institutions, to improve Pakistan's security, to help it face an existential threat from terrorism. And that's where our assistance is focused," Toner said.

Asserting that US counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan has yielded results, the spokesman acknowledged "certainly" there have been bumps in the road.

Osama bin Laden's location in Pakistan had "of course" raised serious concerns, Toner said.

"And we're addressing those concerns. But ultimately, counterterrorism cooperation, and indeed on a broader level cooperation with Pakistan, is in our nation's long-term security interest," he said.

IANS