US Defence Secretary Robert Gates is expected to arrive here next week, hoping to open up doors for bilateral military cooperation and take forward talks on unresolved defence pacts.
After entering into the End User Monitoring Agreement (EUMA), which allows Washington to verify the use of military equipment sold by the US, Gates is likely to intensify negotiations to build momentum for military pacts.
These include the logistics support agreement (LSA) and the communication, interoperability and security memorandum of agreement (CISMOA).Both deals have been on the backburner for around four years. The Obama administration notched a victory last July when the EUMA was signed during Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to India. But the US presidency's marathon efforts to clinch the two agreements haven't been productive until now.
"India and the US still do not see eye to eye on the two agreements. Further discussions are required," defence ministry sources said.
Proposed by the Bush Administration, the LSA would bind India and US to support each other's aircraft, ships and personnel with logistics, fuel and spares on a reimbursable or barter basis. Countries importing military equipment from the US have to enter into the CISMOA, as Washington wants to make sure that exchange of sensitive communication remains secure.
Gates, who last came to India in February 2008, is also expected make a pitch for US defence firms that are competing with international rivals to grab some lucrative military contracts.
His visit comes in the wake of India issuing a letter of interest to the US government for the potential acquisition of 10 C-17 Globemaster III advanced airlifters worth over $2 billion (Rs 9,000 crore).