As part of its efforts to take the India-US defence relationship to the next level and help New Delhi raise the indigenisation of its of its defence systems, the Pentagon has initiated several India-specific steps, details of which have not been revealed so far.

Deputy Secretary of Defence Ashton B Carter will be in India with a number of co-production and co-development projects to New Delhi to see whether India would be interested in them and could further be discussed when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets President Barack Obama on September 27.

"So what we're doing is in the technology and export controls area, working so that India has the same status as our very closest allies and that our system is operating on a time scale that's consistent with the needs for the Indian side to make decisions," Deputy Secretary of Defence Ashton B Carter said.

Carter, who leads the US side for the Defence Technology Initiative, will have discussions with officials in India on the DTI. National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon leads the Indian side.

Asserting that the US and India are destined to be partners in the world stage even though their interests do not coincide always, Carter said the Obama Administration is keen to take the India-US defence relationship to the next level and help New Delhi increase indignation of its defence system. "Many find our foreign military sales programme cumbersome, and many of my Indian colleagues say the same thing to me, and I readily acknowledge that we need to get better at making it more user-friendly," Carter said.

"So co-production and co-development projects, I'm bringing a number of them to India to present and say only you know whether you'd be interested in these, but what I can tell you is, I've gotten the bureaucratic obstacles out of the way," Carter said. National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon is leading the Indian side in this initiative, which many say is going to be path-breaking.

"It obviously has many dimensions. We're working very, very hard on it, as are our colleagues in India. This is a long-term project, but it has a number of very short-term excellent prospects for doing things the way India would like to do it, which is an emphasis on co-production, co-development, technology-sharing, and digitisation, and so forth," he said.

"We hope to have some of that ready so that when the Prime Minister comes and meets with President Obama. I'm sure they'll be discussing the idea, but they'll also have some specific examples, in addition to the C-130J and the things that are already going on and the things that we might be able to do in the future together," Carter said.

"The goal is to make it so that the only limitations on what we can do together as two defence establishments are limitations that arise from our different interests or different policies, but that there otherwise isn't any mechanical or bureaucratic impediment to doing things together that we want to do," Carter said.

(Agencies)

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