U.S.-India defense cooperation advances Indo-Pacific security

India and the United States are strengthening their defense cooperation as part of their shared commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

The world’s two largest democracies participated in Aero India 2021, a defense exhibition and air show, February 3–5 in Bengaluru, India.

U.S. Chargé d’Affaires in India Donald L. Heflin said the exhibition, attended by more than 100 U.S. government and business officials, supports a growing number of partnerships between U.S. and Indian companies that expand exports and create jobs in both countries.

“India plays a key role in the Indo-Pacific region, and our cooperation advances our shared vision of a rules-based international order that promotes the prosperity and security of all countries,” Heflin said at a press conference in Bengaluru on February 2.

Man taking selfie near large helicopter on tarmac (© Marina Lystseva/TASS/Getty Images)
A man photographs a CH-47 Chinook helicopter during Aero India 2021. (© Marina Lystseva/TASS/Getty Images)

Collaboration between the two countries advances both Indo-Pacific security and global economic development.

Among the highlights of Aero India 2021, a B-1B Lancer heavy bomber performed a “formation fly-by” with Indian fighter aircraft Tejas during the inaugural ceremony February 3, a historic moment marking the first time an American bomber touched down in India in the history of the Republic of India.

The United States, India, Australia and Japan participated in the October 6 Quadrilateral Ministerial in support of freedom, transparency and national sovereignty in the Indo-Pacific. The four countries also conduct multinational military exercises to help ensure the region remains safe for maritime navigation.

U.S. technology has helped India grow its military, scientific and private business sectors.

The United States is the largest source of investment in the Indo-Pacific region and in 2018 conducted $1.9 trillion in trade, supporting 5.1 million jobs in the region, according to the U.S. Embassy New Delhi’s December 2020 publication The U.S.-India Partnership: Ambition and Achievement [PDF, 22 MB].

Since World War II, the United States has contributed $2 trillion in development assistance to the region.

“U.S. participation in Aero India 2021 reflects our increasingly close bilateral defense ties and our shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” Heflin said.