As I complete my fourth month as United States consul-general in Hyderabad, I would like to reflect on the remarkable ties between our two nations, particularly in the area of defence cooperation.
The partnership between the United States and India continues to reach new heights. Under the leadership of President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, strategic cooperation between our two countries has expanded — and we have an unprecedented opportunity to further deepen this relationship.
The US welcomes India’s emergence as a leading global power and supports its leadership role in South Asian security and throughout the broader region. We share complementary visions for a free, open and rules-based Indo-Pacific.
US-India defence cooperation has been expanding over the past two decades and has seen a rapid increase within the past five years. A few concrete examples come to mind. As a result of our bilateral security cooperation in areas ranging from maritime security to counter-terrorism cooperation, the US declared India a Major Defence Partner in 2016. This opened the door to expanded bilateral defence trade that includes such strategically important weapons systems as heavy transport aircraft, ultra-lightweight howitzers, helicopters, and precision-guided munitions. This week’s 2+2 dialogue in Washington D.C. is another important opportunity to bolster defence and military cooperation.
In the states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, where I serve as US consul-general, I have been deeply impressed by the breadth of our strategic relationship including joint research, co-development and production of high-end defence equipment, and expanded cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. US and Indian companies are co-producing C-130 transport aircraft, F-16 fighter planes and Apache helicopters at joint facilities in Hyderabad.
Through strong US-India private sector collaboration, Hyderabad and other innovation centres across India have become important aerospace and defence manufacturing hubs. A vibrant Indian defence manufacturing base is in the interests of both the US and India. It enhances Indian military capabilities and supports a global supply chain of partner countries with shared democratic values.
Last month, Andhra Pradesh hosted the first ever tri-service military exercise between India and the US: Tiger Triumph. This exercise improved our ability to work cooperatively in providing humanitarian relief after natural disasters. Additionally, the port of Visakhapatnam has welcomed three US Navy ship visits in the past year. Working together, the American and Indian militaries have increased interoperability in order to prevent conflict and promote regional strength and peace throughout the Indo-Pacific region. At the same time, the US-India defence relationship, and resulting cooperation in industry and technology, is an innovation engine and job creator for both Indians and Americans.
This week, the US consulate is hosting the US-India Defence Ties Conference in Hyderabad, in partnership with the Business Council for International Understanding and the Confederation of Indian Industry. The conference will bring together government officials, corporate leaders, researchers, and entrepreneurs to build on both countries’ achievements and further strengthen US-India collaboration in defence manufacturing and innovation. And right before the Hyderabad conference, the consulate and Nexus Startup Hub will host a Defence Startups Workshop at T-Hub, India’s largest business incubator for entrepreneurs. Together, we will help young Indian innovators develop new skills and forge connections with the defence industry, potential business partners, and investors. The range of startups with a link to the defence industry might surprise you, from 3D printing technologies to waterless bathing products. I look forward to seeing the cutting-edge innovation of young Indian entrepreneurs in action.
The bilateral defence relationship between the United States and India is strong and getting stronger, and that is good news for all of us. As 2020 approaches, I am confident that the US-India partnership will continue to expand, benefiting Americans and Indians, and enhancing security and innovative technologies across the Indo-Pacific region and the globe....