India Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla addressing a press conference following the India and US delegation-level talks in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo/ANI
India Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla addressing a press conference following the India and US delegation-level talks in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo/ANI

MEA says India, US reiterate 'strong strategic partnership' over defence, legal framework on trade to materialise soon

ANI | Updated: Feb 25, 2020 17:02 IST


New Delhi [India], Feb 25 (ANI): India and the United States reiterated a 'strong strategic partnership' over security and defence, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said here on Tuesday, adding that the ongoing talks over bilateral trade between the two sides is due to materialise into a legal framework very soon.
"On security and defence, there was an understanding that we have a strong strategic partnership that is now referred to as a comprehensive strategic global partnership. This is a partnership that has encompassed an extraordinary increase in both exchanges as well as cooperation in various security domains," Shringla told reporters following the delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump.
Shringla also stated that there was a noticeable decline in adverse trade balance from USD 30 billion a few years ago to 25 billion UDS today. The adverse trade balance is gradually eroding with the greater amount of acquisitions that India is making from the US, he added.
Expanding its defence cooperation with Washington further, New Delhi earlier today agreed to purchase more than USD 3 billion of advanced American military equipment including Apache and MH-60 Romeo helicopters.
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had given its nod to the acquisition of the choppers, designed for hunting submarines and conducting search and rescue operations at sea, just days ahead of Trump's visit.
The US had in April last year approved the sale of these choppers under its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme.

The Lockheed Martin-built helicopters would replace India's ageing fleet of British-made Sea King choppers.
The MH-60 Romeo choppers are being acquired by the Navy after several failed attempts to replace their Sea King fleet.
The US President said that the deals will "enhance" joint defence capabilities between the two countries.
Shringla noted also the two leaders have decided that the ongoing discussions on trade will conclude as soon as possible and it would be given a legal framework. The text of the deal could be finalised with legal vetting as soon as possible.
"I think the two leaders also decided to move towards what was referred to as a 'big deal' in the trade sector," the Foreign Secretary said.
Trump today said that a major focus of his discussions with the Prime Minister has been forging bilateral economic relationship that is fair and reciprocal and the two countries have made tremendous progress on a comprehensive trade agreement.
The US President and his wife, First Lady, Melania Trump are in India on a two-day state visit, along with a 12-member delegation of ministerial officials, including Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner. (ANI)

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