Gates' visit to bolster Indo-US security ties : Curtis

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Washington, Jan.21 (ANI): US Defence Secretary Robert Gates visit to India is seen as a critical move initiated by Washington for stabilising and establishing peace in the region.

Describing America's relationship with India as "indispensable", Gates highlighted New Delhi's 'greater' role in Afghanistan that plays an important part in helping the NATO forces achieve their target in that country.

According to Lisa Curtis, senior research fellow for South Asia in the Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation, Gates visit will help in continuing the momentum in U.S.-India ties and prepare the way for a potential visit by President Obama to New Delhi this summer.

Gates visit is also likely to bolster defence trade between the two countries.

While Russia still provides 80 percent of India's military hardware, the U.S. is also beginning to break into the rapidly expanding Indian defence market, said Curtis.

Over the last two years, India has purchased military equipment from the U.S. worth over 3 billion dollars, including eight maritime reconnaissance aircraft and six C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft.

The two countries are moving toward completing their largest defence transaction (about 2.5 billion dollars) with India's potential purchase of ten strategic airlift aircraft.

It is expected that Gates may ink some agreements on defence deals during his visit, which would present a major stride forward in cementing the U.S.-India strategic partnership. (ANI)

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