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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

India Expands Military Ties With United States

APIndian military police near a replica missile
NEW DELHI, India -- After a Cold War standoff, India is building a military relationship with the United States that will not clash with its decades-old defense ties with Russia, the Indian defense minister said Tuesday.

"It is unprecedented, since our cooperation was at such a low level," George Fernandes told a news conference. "Where there was a certain standoffishness, it went away."

"Post-Sept. 11, a different relationship was developed. Military to military cooperation has been worked out," Fernandes said, referring to the security cooperation between the two countries after the terrorist attacks in the United States.

Fernandes made the comments a day after General Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in New Delhi that India intends to buy U.S. surveillance radar -- its first major military purchase from the United States.

An Indian Defense Ministry source said the radar would be used in the fight against Islamic militants in the disputed province of Kashmir.

Also Monday in Honolulu, Hawaii, air force officials from the two countries began a weeklong conference to promote military cooperation.

During the Cold War years, India professed to be nonaligned but depended politically and militarily on the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, the U.S. tilt toward Pakistan, India's traditional rival, led New Delhi to view Washington with suspicion.

India has traditionally bought most of its defense hardware and weaponry from Moscow, but is now considering weapons purchases from Washington as well.

"In international relations, we always do balancing acts," Fernandes said. "We are working together [with both] and I don't think there is any conflict of interest between our relations with the U.S. and our relations with Russia."

India and the United States have signed an agreement to share security and defense-related information and military intelligence.

Joint army, navy and air force exercises "are on the cards and the program has been worked out. These will be regular features," Fernandes said.