US deputy defense secretary Ashton Carter this week proposed ways to deepen defense ties between the US and India, including co-development of the next version of the Javelin anti-tank missile now built by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.
Carter, speaking at a news conference in India, said the two countries were already expanding military relations through exercises and increased trade in weapons. But he said it was time to unleash what he called the "enormous untapped potential between our private sectors in the defense field."
The Pentagon's No. 2 official said the US was trying to remove bureaucratic hurdles impeding technology transfer between the two countries, and was giving priority funding to researchers working with Indian partners in key areas of science and technology.
The Obama administration, mindful of declining US defense spending levels, has tried to expand partnerships with many countries, including India, on military sales, and has dramatically stepped up its advocacy for US arms sales abroad.
India and US announced a Defense Trade and Technology Initiative, a year ago — a joint effort to streamline bureaucratic processes and expand defense trade.
One new initiative, Carter said, involved seeking anticipatory approvals of some weapons projects even before India finalised its military requirements. A text of his remarks was released in Washington. “We on our side have already reached out to US industry to start identifying more transformative co-production and co-development projects that we can undertake together,” he said. "We're going to keep reaching out and keep pushing."