External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar stated on Sunday that India’s reliance on Russian defence equipment and the strength of its defence ties with Moscow are not the result of New Delhi’s failure to contact the United States in an effort to acquire such equipment.
Jaishankar told Indian Americans during an interactive discussion organised by the US India Friendship Council and Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies: “One of the changes in our relationships has been the development of our defence cooperation in its current form over the last 15 years or so.”
“From 1965 to roughly 1980, the United States did not export any military equipment to India. In reality, this was a time when the friendship between India and the Soviet Union and India and Russia became quite strong,” he remarked.
“This was not owing to India’s inability to attempt. I can personally attest for it. My relatives, including my father and grandfather, worked for the defence ministry. Jaishankar said, “Therefore, I am aware of the significant efforts that were made over those years to convince the United States that a strong, united, independent, and affluent India was in the American interest.
“At the time, they failed, perhaps due to the status of the world,” he remarked. “The beginning of the transformation was precipitated by the nuclear deal, which eliminated a significant barrier to progress, and then to take the relationship to a new level will require leadership from India,” which did not have misgivings.
“To clap, two hands are required. “It’s not simply that all the troubles are on the American side; there were also Indian visitors,” he explained.
Therefore, we must also engage the institutions on our side. I believe the relationship is on a significantly different footing today. We have the potential to collaborate in numerous additional domains, including the security sector. Some of our most important exercises are conducted with the American military. We operate a number of American aircraft, including the C-17, today,” the minister stated.
Extremely optimistic about the future of the India-United States relationship, he stated, “I believe there are truly profound convergences that will sustain it for many years.”