The Pentagon said on Friday that the bilateral defence trade between India and the United States would reach $18 billion by the end of the year. The statement came ahead of the ninth India-US Defence Technologies and Trade Initiative in New Delhi next week.

“As the US Department of Defense lead for DTTI, I’m excited to continue working with our Indian major defence partner,” Undersecretary Of Defense For Acquisition And Sustainment Ellen M Lord told reporters at the Pentagon. “The United States is committed to strengthening its partnership with India while furthering military-to-military relationships and cooperation. Bilateral defense trade, essentially zero in 2008, will reach an estimated $18 billion later this year.”

Citing examples to show how the US and India are working bilaterally as well as with other partners to advance their vision for the Indo-Pacific regions, Lord said the American government had granted India the Strategic Trade Authority Tier 1 designation last August.

This provides India with “greater supply-chain efficiency by allowing US companies to export a greater range of dual-use and high-technology items to India under streamlined processes”, she said. “This grants India the same authorization as NATO allies Japan, South Korea and Australia.”