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US seeks more defence cooperation with India

The United States was keen on more defence cooperation with India and it did not want to see the country merely as a customer, US Consul General in Kolkata Craig Hall said on Tuesday.

He said that in the last ten years defence purchases by India had increased from zero to $15 billion.

"The US does not want to see India only as a customer. Our goal is to create mutual defence partnership and interoperability. Together we need to produce defence equipment and some have begun to happen," he said at an interaction organised by the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce.

Regarding economic ties between the two countries, he said that average tariff rates were high in India as compared to the US and urged the Indian government to reduce both tariff and non-tariff barriers (NTBs).

This was one of the challenges in the economic ties between the two countries, he said, adding that India enjoyed a trade surplus with the US, which is the country's largest trading partner.

"Trade deficit with India of $24 billion is not healthy", he said.

Both the US and India had shared interests in promoting peace and prosperity in the region, Hall added.

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