US seeks improved defence trade ties with India | SupportBiz

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US seeks improved defence trade ties with India

In a bid to boost defence sales to India, the US is touting the 'technical and political advantages' of its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme of government-to-government transfer without competitive bidding. "We have reached out to new partners and emerging markets where we see the defence trade growing," Andrew J Shapiro, Assistant Secretary in the State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs told the Defence Trade Advisory Group.

Outlining US efforts to expand US defence trade, Shapiro, who was in India in spring for the first political-military talks in six years, said that they 'sought to better familiarise the Indian government with our system and to address any concerns they may have'.

"We think that the US-India defence and trade relationship would benefit from linking defence sales with broader strategic goals," he said. "That's why we specifically articulated the technical and political advantages that FMS offers," he added.

One of the major goals of the political-military talks in Delhi was to make progress in advancing the defence trade, he said, noting that cumulative defence sales to India have grown from virtually zero to more than USD8 billion since 2008.

The Obama administration, which has made it a top priority to promote US business abroad, views the American defence industry as an integral part of its efforts to advance US national security and foreign policy, Shapiro said.

The fiscal 2012 ending September 30 is a record-breaking year for US Foreign Military Sales, with such sales already surpassing USD50 billion, representing at least a USD20 billion increase over FY11, which itself was a record-setting year at just over USD30 billion, he said.