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The Editors Desk

Capability & Competence Advancement Agenda' (C2A2)

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A.Sandeep 17 December 2011

WASHINGTON: Weeks after offering to sell its F-35 fifth generation fighter jets, the US today said it was open to work with India on joint development of a ballistic missile shield.

The offer was made by deputy assistant secretary of defence Robert Scher who said that the Indo-US defence ties were valuable and critical not only for the security and stability of the region, but globally.

"We are really open to it. And this is something we ask to and ask them if they are interested in it," Scher said on collaboration on the missile shield project in an interview to PTI, emphasising that US "is and will be a dependable weapons supplier to India."

The top Pentagon official disclosed that Washington and New Delhi had been involved in crucial discussion on the ballistic missile shield, adding that the US was looking forward to "restart" the dialogue.

Reiterating that US was ready for India to join in the multi-nation collaboration on F-35 fighters, Scher said that Washington was still awaiting India's response.

Referring to President Barack Obama's latest defence strategy in which the US commits itself to a long-term defence relationship with India, the Pentagon official said the US would certainly welcome discussion with New Delhi on F-35 and anti-missile system.

He cited the sale of C-130J transport aircraft to India ahead of the schedule as an example of readiness of the US armament industry to respond to India's need.

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