New Delhi, Jun 6 : On a key interaction to boost defence ties between India and the United States, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs R. Clarke Cooper arrived here on Thursday.
"It is a distinct honour to work with our security partner, India, an example for South Asia and the world by supporting democracy, diversity, transparency and Rule of Law values shared by the US," Mr Cooper tweeted.US envoy to India Ken Juster also said great to welcome R Clarke Cooper to US Embassy in New Delhi. "Good discussion on efforts to strengthen US-India defense ties and further support India’s role as a Major Defense Partner," Ambassador Juster wrote.
Mr Cooper’s visit is also seen as an 'important prelude' for the much talked about trip of the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is likely to visit India in June prior to the two-day G20 Summit to be held in Japan.However, asked about possibility of a visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Thursday merely said he had 'no details' on the matter.
"High level exchanges have been important component of bilateral ties between India and the US. Once we have the details, we will share it," he told reporters.Meanwhile, sources said Mr Clarke is likely to interact with new External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and others to discuss defence partnership and also take steps for "furthering opportunities for American industry" and push for $15 billion fighter jet deal.
"Talks will focus on supporting India’s role as a Major Defense Partner, expanding our security cooperation, and furthering opportunities for American industry," an US statement has said prior to Clarke's visit to Singapore, Sri Lanka and India."In India, Assistant Secretary Cooper will hold talks on defense cooperation and peacekeeping, two key areas of the rapidly growing US-India partnership as envisioned in the Administration’s Indo-Pacific Strategy. The US-India bilateral defence trade has risen from virtually zero in 2008 to $15 billion today," the statement said.
Meanwhile, sources in the government said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met with Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra and other officials an reviewed defence acquisition matters.Mr Singh was briefed about Defence Procurement Procedures, budget utilisation and procurement issues. (UNI)