We Work Closely With India: State Department
WASHINGTON, DC (IANS) – Reiterating that its partnership with India is one of the most consequential relationships, the US has said it is working closely with the country on “most vital priorities”.
“I would say that our partnership with India is one of our most consequential relationships. We work closely with India on our most vital priorities,” State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters.
Wishing outgoing Indian Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu on his future endeavors, Miller said that the US looks forward to welcoming his replacement.
“We have had a close working relationship with the ambassador, and have been able to work with him on a number of those shared priorities, including the crucial role India plays in ensuring a free, open Indo-Pacific that is connected, prosperous, secure, and resilient. We wish him well in his future endeavors and look forward to welcoming his replacement,” Miller said.
The spokesperson also informed that Secretary of State Antony Blinken and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar share a “close working relationship”.
On being asked about the timeline or the next steps and how important the Predator Drone deal would be, Miller said that the “exact timeline of the delivery is something that the US will explore with the Indian government over the coming months.
“I will say concerning the deal itself, the $3.99 — almost 4 — billion sale of 31 MQ-9B SkyGuardian aircraft will provide India with an enhanced maritime security and maritime domain awareness capability. It offers India outright ownership and a 16-fold increase in the number of aircraft, as compared to their current lease of two MQ-9A aircraft,” Miller said.
The deal was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joe Biden in June 2023 along with joint production of GE jet engines in India.
India is buying these drones in a government-to-government deal through a process called Foreign Military Sale.