Asia Minute: How India Has Become a Regional Pentagon Favorite

Dec 9, 2016

Credit Wikimedia Commons

 Ash Carter is continuing his last trip around the world as Defense Secretary—spending time today in the Middle East. He spent much of this week in Asia—where his last stop was a significant one. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter held his seventh meeting with India’s Defense Minister this week.

That’s the most he’s had with any of his counterparts around the world. And it underlines a security relationship that has developed quietly but dramatically in recent years.

This stop finalized India’s status as a “major defense partner” of the United States.

While that may sound like merely a description to some ears in the United States, it's a phrase that made the front pages of news outlets across India.

The agreement increases the level of technology transfer from the U.S. to India. And as a result, lays the groundwork for increased Indian purchases of U.S. military equipment.

Defense ties have grown between the two countries over the course of the Obama administration, and joint military exercises have increased.

The attitude of a Trump administration to India remains as uncertain as other aspects of its foreign policy, but India remains a tempting strategic counterweight to China, and one with trade implications.

According to Defense Department figures, under the Obama Administration, arms exports to India have risen from about 1 billion dollars a year to 14 billion dollars a year.

And with the most recent deal in place, they are poised to grow even further.