DELHI – U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James departed Delhi August 28th following meetings with Indian defense leadership.
During her three-day stay she met with various senior defense leaders including Secretary Department of Defence Production Ashok Kumar Gupta, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha and Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa.
“My discussions with Secretary Gupta and Air Chief Marshal Raha were incredibly helpful advancing our relationship,” said Secretary James. “The Indian and US Air Forces have a history of cooperation corner-stoned by the interoperability between our C-130J and C-17 fleets. We look forward to continuing dialogue as India modernizes its fighter fleet.”
Air Force cooperation was greatly enhanced with the IAF’s participation in exercise Red Flag-Alaska early this year and the Indian-hosted COPE India will provide another opportunity in the next year or so. She also met with members of the American Chamber of Commerce who represent U.S. companies in India and attended a lunch hosted by U.S. Ambassador Rich Verma with leaders vital to US-India relations with discussions including the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative.
“We are excited about our part of the DTTI,” said James. “Between discussions in working groups and the growing U.S. defense industry presence in India, we are optimistic about the future of co-developing and co-producing defense systems.” Secretary James was accompanied by Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs Heidi Grant during her visit to India. The U.S. Embassy’s Naval Attaché, CAPT Jason Gilbert, also attended the meetings.
Secretary James took the office of Secretary of the Air Force in 2013. As the 23rd Secretary of the Air Force, she is responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including the organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of its more than 660,000 active duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian Airmen and their families. Secretary James’ visit to India is part of a regional visit to underscore U.S. commitment to efforts that bring peace, security and prosperity to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region and seek opportunities to deepen and expand the relationship between air forces.