The Pentagon has stated that the US is eager to make its defense partnership with India stronger but has made it clear that it is against any country purchasing military equipment, including the S-400 missile defense system from Russia. The S-400 missile has been designed to counter America’s sophisticated fifth-generation aircraft.
A top Pentagon official was asked about his opinion over India’s going ahead with its decision to purchase the S-400 missile defense system from Russia when he made the statement.
Last October, India signed an agreement with Russia to purchase a batch of the S-400 missile systems at a cost of Rs. 40,000 crore. The deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, David J Trachtenberg told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday, “Our defense partnership with India I think is strong and we’re looking to make it ever stronger.”
He was asked whether the US can maintain a major defense partnership with India after the move, he replied that “I think the message we are sending is that we want to make sure that other countries are not purchasing equipment that is designed to counter our sophisticated fifth-generation aircraft.”
“The other message we’re sending is that we are consistent in our approach on this,” he added.
The comments of the office came the next day of the announcement of Donald Trump that the US would not sell the F-35 fighter jets to Turkey after Ankara purchased the S-400 missile defense system from Russia. “Our reaction today is a specific response to a specific event. It is separate and distinct from the broader range of security interests where the United States and Turkey work together against common threats,” he said.
Mr. Trachtenberg said, “While Turkey’s decision is unfortunate, ensuring the security and integrity of the F-35 program and the capabilities it will provide to our partners remains our top priority.”
Undersecretary of Defence for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord said, “Turkey cannot field a Russian intelligence collection platform in proximity to where the F-35 program makes repairs and houses the F-35. Much of the F-35 strength lies in its stealth capabilities.”
“So, the ability to detect those capabilities would jeopardise the long-term security of the F-35 programme,” she added.