'US sees India as key nation in Asia-Pacific region'
The US sees India as a pivotal nation for its security in the Asia-Pacificregion, the Pentagon has said as the Trump administration quietly started the process of implementing the recent designation of India as a "major defence partner".
"The relationship between India and the United States is on track. Secretary (James) Mattis has made the defence relationship with India a top priority," Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said. "He sees India as a pivotal nation in the region going forward for our security," Davis said, weeks after Mattis had a successful meeting with India's national security advisor Ajit K Doval at the Pentagon. According to media reports, Doval's American counterpart Lt Gen H R McMaster is slated to visit India soon. The White House refrained from making any comment on the visit. Keeping defence ties on the forefront of the India-US relationship, the Trump administration is believed to have started the process of implementing in letter and spirit the recent US designation of India as a "major defence partner" .
Mattis in his first phone conversation with the then Indian defence minister Manohar Parrikar is believed to have said that he is ready to take off the India-US defence relationship from where it was left by his predecessor Ashton Carter.
The assurance is being fast implemented by the Pentagon, sources said. A day before Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the US, the department of commerce issued a federal notification that relaxed India-specific defence export control norms.
Under this, the Bureau of Industry and Security amended the Export Administration Regulations by establishing a licensing policy of general approval for exports or re-exports to or transfers within India of items subject to the EAR. In addition, BIS amended the end use and end user provisions of the validated end user authorisation to state that items obtained under authorisation VEU in India may be used for either civil or military end uses other than those that are for use in nuclear, missile, or chemical or biological weapons activities. The move on the last day of the previous Obama administration is believed to address some of the major concerns of India when it comes to import of state-of-the-art defence technology and military hardware. "The changes in the export administration regulations, reflective of India's status as a major defence partner, will enhance defence ties and private sector linkages," an official said.