India strengthens defence cooperation with US; nod to deals for advanced helicopters

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NEW DELHI: India and the US on Tuesday further strengthened their defence cooperation with the two countries giving a nod to an agreement under which India will get USD 3 billion of advanced military equipment including Apache and MH-60 Romeo helicopters.

US President Donald Trump made the announcement after delegation-level talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi here.    

Gujarat, Feb 25 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugs US President Donald Trump during the Namaste Trump event at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad on Monday. (ANI Photo)

“Earlier today we expanded our defence cooperation with agreements for India to purchase more than USD $ 3 billion of advanced American military equipment, including Apache and MH-60 Romeo Helicopters – finest in the world. These will enhance our joint defence capabilities,” he said.

The Prime Minister also spoke of growing defence cooperation between the two countries. He said that increasing defence and security cooperation between India and the US was a very important part of the strategic partnership.

“India’s defence capacity has increased through collaboration on state-of-the-art defence equipment and platforms. Our defence manufacturers are becoming part of each other’s supply chains. Indian forces are doing most training exercises today with the forces of USA. In the last few years, there has been an unprecedented increase in interoperability between our forces,” Modi said.

A day earlier, during his address at “Namaste Trump” event in Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad, the US President had announced that the two countries would sign agreement in defence sector.

“I am pleased to announce that tomorrow our representatives will sign deals to sell over USD 3 billion, in the absolute finest state of the art military helicopters and other equipment to the Indian armed forces,” Trump had said.

Modi’s comments

India and US on Tuesday discussed “every important aspect” of their partnership, including defence and security, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the joint press statement with President Donald Trump.   

“Today we discussed every important aspect of US-India partnership, be it defence and security, energy strategic partnership, trade or people to people ties. The strengthening in defence ties between India and the US is an important aspect of our partnership,” said Modi.

India and the United States today signed several agreements including those on mental health and safety of medical products.

Modi again welcomed Trump and his delegation. “President Trump and his delegation are once again warmly welcomed in India. I am particularly happy that he has come with his family on this journey,” he said.  “This is my fifth meeting with President Trump in the last eight months,” the Prime Minister added.

Trump’s comments

President Donald Trump had planned to defer his India visit till after the US presidential election scheduled to be held later this year but came anyway as Prime Minister Narendra Modi “did not like the idea.”

“I called Prime Minister Modi and said that do you mind if I make it after the election (US presidential polls) and he was not happy. He did not like the idea. I guess, he had already put the signs out,” said the US President in a speech at a dinner banquet hosted in his honour by President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan here on Tuesday.

Taking about his experience at the maiden India visit as the US President, he said: “We had a tremendous two days and I am not including the 18 hours that we flew. That wasn’t even bad because I was coming to the place I like very much. You know I have been to India before, not as President but I have been to India and I will be back hopefully many times.”

“I feel so comfortable that they gave my speech and I said I don’t want to read the speech. Do you know what it read? It said: ‘I love and I respect India.’ I am sure First Lady (Melania Trump) feels the same way,” he said.

Making a reference to the ‘Howdy, Modi!’ event in Texas last September, Trump added, “We had a great time in Texas and they still talk about that in the US.”

“I must say that Texas is a big place and it is hard to beat Texas and what we saw yesterday with 1,250000 people was great. Also what they talk about is the thousands of people standing outside the stadium trying to get in” Trump said.

On the first day of his two-day trip to India, the US President had addressed ‘Namaste Trump’ event in Ahmedabad which was attended by over one lakh people.

The US President concluded his jam-packed maiden two-day official visit to India on Tuesday evening. During the visit, he held both restricted and delegation-level talks with Prime Minister Modi.

Radical Islamic terrorism

Asserting that the United States is working “productively” with Pakistan to confront terrorists who operate on its soil, President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that New Delhi and Washington are committed to protecting their citizens from radical Islamic terrorism.

Trump made these remarks during a joint press conference here following the India and US delegation-level talks.

“In our discussion, Prime Minister Modi and I affirmed our two countries’ commitments to protecting our citizens from radical Islamic terrorism. In this effort, the United States is working productively with Pakistan to confront terrorists who operate on its soil,” Trump said.

During his address, Prime Minister Modi said India and US have decided to further increase their cooperation to hold the perpetrators of terror responsible

“We are increasing cooperation for homeland security and tackling international crime. Today, due to the decision on homeland security, this will get a boost. To hold the perpetrators of terror responsible, we have decided to further increase our cooperation,” said Modi.

India and the United States today signed several agreements including those on mental health and safety of medical products.

Modi again welcomed Trump and his delegation. “President Trump and his delegation are once again warmly welcomed in India. I am particularly happy that he has come with his family on this journey,” he said.

Trump, who is on a two-day visit to India, is accompanied by a 12-member delegation which includes First Daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who also act as senior advisor to the US President, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster, Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, White House Senior Advisor Stephen Miller, White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino, First Lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff Lindsay Reynolds, White House advisor Robert Blair, and White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham.

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