India opened an international air show on Wednesday displaying its interest in buying military and civilian planes from the United States, but sought assurances that sanctions over its nuclear programme won't be re-imposed.
"With the possibility of sanctions, (America's) credibility as a supplier is in question," Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on the sidelines of Aero India, a biennial show in the southern city of Bangalore where US defence contractors are displaying their wares.
Mukherjee said India needs to ensure uninterrupted supply of spares and technology for any defence system it purchases. But he said India was eager to find common ground with the United States and begin buying fighter aircraft and other military technology.
Both countries said they are working toward a strategic defence partnership and want to get over Cold War hostility and the impact of the sanctions imposed by the United States after India's 1998 nuclear tests.
"I think any mistrust between India and the United States is a thing of the past," said Dennys Plessas, vice president of Lockheed Martin, the United States' largest defence contractor.
His company announced it will share with India the know-how to build and maintain its P-3C Orion patrol plane if India's navy agrees to buy the aircraft.
"This agreement, approved by our government, is proof that the relations between the two countries is getting to be very strong," he said.
Meanwhile, aircraft maker Boeing said a new Indian budget airline has agreed to buy 10 passenger jets with options to buy 10 more in a deal worth US$1.26 billion at list prices.