US romping up defence sales to India, Pak to strengthen ties: WSJ

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New York, Feb.26 (ANI): In an apparent bid to strengthen ties both with India and Pakistan, and create new opportunities for the country's defence firms, the United States is considerably increasing arms sales to the two nuclear powered South Asian nations, a report in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said.

The report said that the Obama Administration wants to remain neutral amidst the barbed Indo-Pak relations, however, it has also not hesitated from pursuing large-scale weapon deals in the region.

"The US has made billions of dollars in weapon deals with India, which is in the midst of a five-year, 50 billion dollar push to modernise its military," the report in one of the leading financial newspapers said.

"For 2010 and 2011, India could well be the most important market in the world for defence contractors looking to make foreign military sales," the report quoted Tom Captain, the vice chairman of Deloitte LLP's aerospace and defence practice, as saying.

It is worth mentioning here that Russia has been India's main source of military hardware for decades, supplying about 70 percent of equipment currently being used.

The Obama administration is trying to persuade New Delhi to buy American combat jets, a shift would lead to closer military and political relations between India and the US, White House officials cited by the journal said.

According to the report, the US military aid to Pakistan would nearly double next year, allowing Islamabad to acquire more US-made helicopters, night-vision goggles and other sophisticated military equipments.

The newspaper pointed out that the huge amount of US aid to Pakistan would ultimately help that country to take on militants more effectively, as the White House tries to make Islamabad believe that extremists breeding inside the country and not India pose the real threat to its existence.

"The aid has made it easier for Pakistan to ramp up its fight against militants on the Afghan border, as the US tries to convince Islamabad that its biggest security threat is within the ountry, not in India," the report said. (ANI)

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