New Delhi: The bilateral defence trade between India and the United States is expected to reach USD 18 billion by the year end, said the Pentagon on Saturday. The statement comes ahead of the ninth Defence Technologies and Trade Initiative or DTTI group meeting next week here.

Ellen M Lord, Undersecretary Of Defense For Acquisition And Sustainment asserted that the US is committed to strengthen its partnership with India while furthering military-to-military relationships and cooperation.

Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Lord, who is expected to reach the national capital Delhi next week stated,”Bilateral defence trade, essentially zero in 2008, will reach an estimated USD 18 billion later this year.”

“As the US Department of Defense leads for DTTI, I’m excited to continue working with our Indian major defence partner,” Lord stated.

She said the US granted the India Strategic Trade Authority Tier 1 designation last August, providing New Delhi with greater supply-chain efficiency by allowing American companies to export a greater range of dual-use and high-technology items to India under streamlined processes.

“This grants India the same authorisation as NATO allies Japan, South Korea and Australia. All of these examples show how the United States and India are working bilaterally and in cooperation with other like-minded partners to advance our shared vision for the Indo-Pacific,” Lord added.

(With agency inputs)