India on 8 December 2016 was formally designated as a ‘Major Defence Partner’ of the United States. It was announced in the India-US joint statement on US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter’s visit to New Delhi.
Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had invited US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to India. It marked the seventh interaction between the two leaders.
National Defense Authorization Act, 2017
The United States had recognised India as a Major Defense Partner during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to Washington in June 2016. The joint statement issued then had acknowledged the US-India defence relationship as a possible “anchor of stability.”
Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had given a non-paper to Carter during his visit to Pentagon in August 2016. The visit was followed by negotiations between the two sides on the exact contours of this designation. There were differences between the two sides about the level of technology transfer and cooperation permissible under the Major Defense Partner status. India was seeking benefits granted to the closest allies of the US, such as Australia and the UK which the Pentagon was hesitant to concede.
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