The US has offered to sell to India F-16 fighter aircraft and its advanced versions as also entering into a co-production agreement for the warplanes, US Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca said here on Tuesday.
The offer of co-production "is a big step," and shows that US relations with India are becoming "ever closer," Rocca told the House International Relations Subcommittee for Asia and the Pacific.
She said the Us reserves the co-production agreement for our close allies.
Terming 2005 as "a watershed year in US-India relations," she said, "We are accelerating the transformation of our relationship with India, with a number of new initiatives. We are engaging in a new strategic dialogue on global isues, and on defence and expanded advanced technology cooperation."
"Since Secretary (of State Condoleezza) Rice's trip to New Delhi in March, a series of visits by senior officials from both countries, including Minister of External Affairs Natwar Singh, have underscored the importance of our developing stronger ties.
"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be coming to the United States in July and President George W Bush has said he hopes to visit India soon," Rocca told the sub-committee.
"India and the US have begun a high-level dialogue on energy security, to include nuclear safety, and a working group to strengthen space cooperation. Our defence relationship is expanding and we are revitalizing our economic dialogue.
"The US relationship with India and our commitment to develop even deeper political, economic, commercial and security ties have never been stronger," she said.