21:57 GMT26 January 2020
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    The US Senate’s Armed Services Committee has expressed concerns over the widening gap between what it calls “the overarching goals of the Indo-US defense ties”. But Indian experts said the country enjoys greater strategic synergy with Russia.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — The panacea to bridge this gap: the committee has asked The Pentagon to work closely with India in the cyber and space operating domains.

    “Looking ahead to the future of the US major defense partnership with India, the committee encourages the department to work closely with India in the cyber and space operating domains at appropriate strategic, operational and tactical levels,” PTI quoted from the Senate Committee’s report.

    The 600-page report says, “India deserves a seat at the table as the US works with our other key allies and partners to increase resiliency, strengthen deterrence and secure superiority in both operating domains.”

    Indian experts said these are recommendations and it is too early to decipher where India and US relations are heading. When it comes to strategic thinking, cooperation and shared experience on global issues, India and Russia ties enjoy a major advantage.

    “India and Russia ties are based on 70 years of special partnership at multiple levels, while India started enjoying good ties with the US for the last two decades. The long-term view on India-US ties is not possible as the two countries operate in a dynamic environment with strategic vision depending on a lot of external factors. A case in point is the growing Russia and China synergy, which could shape India-Russia ties as well as New Delhi’s ties with Washington. A differentiation too needs to be made between what we buy from Russia and what we have started ordering from the US. We get best and latest defense technology and weapons from Russia with virtually no conditions. But to achieve the same with the US will take quite some time,” Nandan Unnikrishnan, Vice-President at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation, told Sputnik.

    The Senate report also notes progress in defense ties between the two countries with the US export controls for defense articles sold to India relaxed as part of the policy envisaged in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017.

    The report commended the Malabar annual exercise involving India, Japan and the US naval forces for its focus on maritime patrol, reconnaissance scenarios, and anti-submarine warfare operations.

    The US and India in 2015 codified a joint strategic vision committing to maritime awareness and freedom of navigation as overarching defense missions.

    The Senate Armed Services Committee plays a key role in shaping the defense and national security policy of the US and is chaired by Senator John McCain.


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