New Delhi, Feb 17 : The United States is closely interested in strengthening bilateral relationship with India and the large American delegation in Indian DEFEXPO-08 is a perfect example, said Charge D' Affaires of US Embassy Steven J. White. "The US is closely interested in its relationship with India and we are delighted to be here and want to be a part of India's growth," White said at the fifth International Land and Naval Systems Exhibition, DEFEXPO-08 in New Delhi.
Eyeing the Indian defence market, White said: "We have provided C130J Hercules transport aircraft to the Indian Air Force and it shows we are ready to do business with India." He further said that MMRCA (medium multi role combat aircraft), interceptor missile defence system or anything in which India is interested "we are ready to sell them."
The US delegation is the largest at the DEFEXPO-08 with 46 American companies participating in it followed by 43 Russian companies. The US delegation is led by former Defence Secretary William Cohen and is one of the largest ever-American commercial delegations to a foreign defence exposition.
Showcasing their weapon systems at the Defence Expo here, Cohen said that the military ties between India and US were set to grow and the fate of civil nuclear deal will have no impact on this. Lockheed Martin, the largest defence supplier to Pentagon, announced establishing its Indian subsidiary, headed by Douglas Hartwick, former US Ambassador to Laos.
The company was recently awarded one billion dollar contract to supply six (C-130J) military transport planes. Lockheed Martin President South Asia, Richard G. Kirkland, said that supply of C130J Hercules transport aircraft to the IAF is first in the field of defence cooperation. Kirkland sounded hopeful of supplying F-16 aircrafts to IAF, and said that 24 nations are using this aircraft, which proves its capability.
He further went on to say that F-16 is the most versatile multi role combat aircraft and has never been beaten in combat. "Lockheed Martin meets specific requirements of its customers that's why we are in India. We will talk to the Indian Government and tailor made the products to suit the conditions here," he added.
Lockheed and another US aircraft manufacturer, Boeing, are in the competition, along with European and Russian companies, to supply India with more than 100 new fighter jets.
The DEFEXPO India exhibition was conceptualised in the year 1998 by the Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence, in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry with an objective to promote defence exports from India and at the same time exhibit the capabilities of Indian Defence research and development and production.
The DEFEXPO India exhibition, which began in 1999 with 197 exhibitors, has grown to one of the most internationally recognised defence exhibitions in the world, with a total of 475 exhibitors, of which foreign exhibitors are 273 and Indian exhibitors are 202. For the first time in DEFEXPO-08 both Telecom and IT companies will be showcasing their products and services.
Forty-seven official delegations would be visiting DEFEXPO India 2008 including six ministerial delegations from Afghanistan, Belarus, Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia and Nigeria.
The biggest defence fair in South Asia began on Saturday with arms makers from 30 countries displaying an array of technology and new products. Countries participating include Australia, Belarus, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Norway, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Netherlands, UAE, UK, Ukraine and the US. By Praful Kumar Singh