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Indian aero fete showcases US strategic ties

Updated February 14, 2017

NEW DELHI: A high-level US delegation, replete with an array of military platforms and personnel, will participate in the Aero India 2017 exhibition which opens in Bangalore on Tuesday, and of particular interest will be cooperation that appears to be looking at navigation in South China Sea and Maoist rebels in India’s heartland.

“US participation in Aero India provides industry and the military services opportunities to strengthen military-to-military relations and invigorate defence cooperation as we work together to safeguard against global instability, protects freedom of navigation in the air and sea, and combat terrorism and violent extremism,” the embassy said.

The term violent extremism appears to be similar to left-wing extremism that India uses to separate a clutch of secular insurgents holding forth across the country from Muslim extremists.

“This robust public and private participation from the United States in Aero India demonstrates the importance we place on advancing our Major Defence Partnership with India,” the embassy said.

US assets this year include F-16C Fighting Falcons, a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft and a C-130J Super Hercules transport. A Pacific Air Forces F-16 demonstration team will showcase the capability of one of the US Air Force’s leading fighters and a combined India-US parachute demonstration is also planned.

Over 20 US companies are participating in fete, 17 with exhibits in the US Partnership Pavilion with three companies recently entering the Indian market and five new to the show, the statement said. A senior US navy officer recently told Indian journalists in New Delhi that the United States was helping India track Chinese submarines in the Arabian Sea.

The US government delegation includes MaryKay Carlson, Chargé d’Affaires of the US Mission to India; Beth McCormick, Director for the Defence Technology Security Administration; Heidi H. Grant, Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force and others.

Published in Dawn February 14th, 2017