Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew J. Shapiro will travel to India on February 8-11, 2011, to build on the achievements of President Obama’s November trip. His visit − accompanying Commerce Secretary Gary Locke − comes at a time when the United States is seeking to increase significantly the volume and technological sophistication of U.S. defense sales to India.
Assistant Secretary Shapiro will attend the Aero India 2011 air show and aviation exhibition in Bangalore, followed by meetings with senior civilian and military officials in New Delhi to discuss defense trade issues. Officials will also discuss maritime security and counter-piracy cooperation. India has been an active participant in the 60-nation Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, and joins the United States among countries contributing naval forces to patrol regional waters. Officials will also discuss support to international peacekeeping through the Global Peace Operations Initiative.
At Aero India, Assistant Secretary Shapiro will meet with Indian defense officials and industry representatives, who will be welcoming the arrival of the first of six C-130J aircraft under a recent $950 million purchase. The aircraft will provide the Indian Air Force with advanced strategic and humanitarian airlift capabilities. Two U.S. companies are also currently competing for India’s $11 billion Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) tender.
The visit’s agenda reflects the President’s initiative to craft an indispensable partnership with India which will shape a secure and prosperous 21st century.