When I first arrived in India two years ago, the most common question I received was, “What is the next big thing in the U.S. – India strategic partnership?” The answer is, “There is no one thing.” We have a global partnership today with India. Over the past several years, our partnership has expanded and broadened onto the world stage and we are now collaborating in almost every field of human endeavor. We are working extremely closely on a security partnership sharing intelligence, sharing best practices, and sharing David Headley. We can cooperate in civil space and defense due to President Obama’s leadership in reforming our export control regime and removing Indian entities from our restricted lists. There is the possibility for $10-12 billion in defense sales in the next few years (C-17s. C-130Js, Apache helicopters, etc.). Yet, our defense cooperation is not just about military sales. It is about joint exercises, personnel exchanges, and professional military education that we conduct together, which is improving our capabilities in bringing humanitarian assistance to people in need, keeping shipping lanes open, and providing security to the region. Maritime security and anti-piracy efforts can grow. Two-way trade was up 30 percent in 2010 with opportunities for more in clean energy, technology, infrastructure, and services to name a few. We are partnering in health, education, and in third countries like Afghanistan and in Africa. The progress the U.S.-India global partnership has made under President Obama and Prime Minister Singh’s leadership has brought our two countries together in ways that were unthinkable just a decade ago. With our shared values and shared interests, our two powerful democracies have an opportunity to shape the world in a very positive way.
Posts Tagged ‘Aircraft’
You could feel the excitement in the air for American businesses at my reception at the ITC Windsor before the opening of Aero India. American companies were leading the way at the biggest Aero India show in its history with the largest delegation and almost 50 exhibitors at our first ever U.S. Pavilion at Aero India. American companies large and small were represented with the most innovative and sophisticated of products. Secretary Locke and I were able to test Boeing and Lockheed Martin simulators, see GE engines that power so many of the aircraft on display at Aero India, and feel the protection of TenCate’s flame resistant material and suits. It is not only the big airplanes and products, but the software, technology systems, braking components, and engines that also produce jobs in America. The quality and reliability of these products with the most up-to-date technology will be great additions for the Indian armed forces as it continues to upgrade older equipment with newer models as well as expand its capabilities with new equipment.
I have been dreaming of vertical loops and barrel rolls ever since I was a kid in grade school. Thanks to Boeing and Lockheed Martin, Assistant Secretary Shapiro and I had the ride of a lifetime at Aero India when we flew in Boeing’s Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin’s Super Viper. Flying upside down over Bangalore at 1000 kph was breathtaking. The technology, ingenuity, and innovation that has gone into these fantastic aircraft is incredible. I could “see” other planes on the radar that were 100 kilometers away; slow down to practically a walk; and skim the surface of the earth as if I was flying a model plane. This is superior technology for our pilots and military. It truly was one of my most memorable experiences.
From Super Vipers to Super Hercules to Super Hornets, the Aero India show was a super event. The Indian Ministry of Defense and CII did a terrific job organizing the biggest air show in South Asia and the biggest in the history of Aero India. Attending the opening ceremony, I was amazed at the grace and maneuverability of the many planes, both Indian and foreign, as well as the skill of the pilots. As they flew by, performing their stunts, the roar of the engines would hit you like a punch in the chest. The acrobatic displays of the Indian Air Force with the tri-colors trailing brought loud applause and delight to the crowd. The fighter jets showed off their amazing technology with great turns, spins, loops, and power. A super start for Aero India.
There are American Super Vipers, Super Hornets, and Super Hercules in India today. All will be proudly displayed this coming week at the “Aero India” show in Bangalore. Accompanied by Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Schwartz, I attended a special ceremony February 5 inducting the tactical airlift transport, the C-130J Super Hercules, into the Indian Air Force. Defense Minister Antony handed over the ceremonial key to the aircraft, and stated that this sale will add “more muscle” to the Indian Air Force and help with “the modernization” efforts. The sale of these six aircraft was on time and on budget exhibiting exactly the type of win-win situation President Obama discussed during his historic visit in November. This new capability helps the IAF bring their troops what they need, when they need it, and wherever they are located, even in the most severe and seemingly impossible locations. It can assist with humanitarian rescue missions or special operations. The U.S. benefits with a deeper strategic defense partnership with India, new markets opened, and the creation of American jobs. It was a memorable and successful day at Hindon Air Base outside New Delhi on Saturday afternoon.