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US-Indo defence ties not based on arms sales: Pentagon

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WASHINGTON (PTI): America's strong and deepening defence ties with India are not dependent on any arms sales, but on common interests and objectives between the two largest democracies of the world, a top Pentagon official said Saturday.

"Defence trade is certainly a part of the bilateral relationship but the cement and the core of that relationship is not on any arms sales," Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia Robert Scher said.

"It is on the common interest, common objectives, people to people ties between our two countries," he said.

"We share common interest in terms of maritime security in the Indian Ocean; we have the same short of appreciation of the importance of the global commons and we share interesting safety and security in the region," Scher said responding to questions at Pentagon round table with select Washington-based journalists from the Asia Pacific region.

"This is the foundation of the growing relationship that I think, has the potential and the currently we are seeing how we are both working together to really improve the stability of the region at large," said the top Pentagon official.

India is going to be a clear area of investment for the United States, Scher said.

"For India the strategy points out that the United States is investing in a long term strategic partnership with India to support its ability to serve as a regional economic anchor and provider of security in the broader Indian ocean region," he said.

The top Pentagon official said the US India relationship is a top priority for the government and for the Department of Defence.

"We have a strong a growing bilateral partnership. We think that we can work together with India on a range of issues because we share common interests and that is foundation of the work that we do together and how we look at the world together," he said.

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