India a 'great example' of countries who are choosing security assistance from US: Pentagon

Pentagon spokesman Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder speaks during a briefing at the Pentagon in Washington / Photo: AP

Washington: India is a "great example" of countries who are choosing security assistance from the US, the Pentagon has said, underlining that it was ready for any response to wean them away from Russia.

Pentagon spokesperson Pat Ryder also said the US understands that some countries that bought Russian or Soviet-era weapons want to maintain some type of relationship with Moscow.

"There are a lot of countries that maintain a security or defence relationship with Russia. Again, that's a sovereign decision for individual countries to make," he said on Tuesday at a media briefing in Washington.

Ryder made these remarks when asked if there is no concern if information or technology that the US might share with them will be shared with Russia.

"Many of those nations have in the past purchased Russian-built or Soviet-era equipment. So it stands to reason that they may maintain some type of relationship. From a security cooperation standpoint, certainly from the US perspective, I think that the types of security assistance the United States provides to include capabilities is much more dependable and also maintained," he added.

"And something that we continue to discuss with various partners and allies around the world on would they -- should they choose to purchase those kinds of systems, we're certainly all ears. India is a great example," Ryder said.

In 1997, defence trade between India and the US was almost negligible, today it stands above USD 20 billion.

India has faced flak from US lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, for choosing to abstain from a UN vote to rebuke Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

US officials have expressed concern over India's purchase of the S-400 missile systems by Russia.

In October 2018, India signed a USD 5 billion deal with Russia to buy five units of the S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems to ramp up its air defence, despite a warning from the then-Trump administration that going ahead with the contract may invite US sanctions.

Despite strong objections from the US and the threat of sanctions from the Biden administration, India has refused to make any changes in its decision and is going ahead with the purchase of the missile defence system.

India pursues an independent foreign policy and its defence acquisitions are guided by its national security interests, the Ministry of External Affairs said in November 2021. PTI

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