The Trump administration has discussed a potential missile defence cooperation with India as part of its effort to deepen the bilateral strategic partnership, the Pentagon has said, asserting that New Delhi is a "key element" in America's Indo-Pacific strategy.
The Pentagon's announcement in the 81-page 'Missile Defense Review' report released by President Donald Trump gains significance in view of India placing a USD 5 billion order to purchase S-400 air defense system from Russia, for which the US has publicly expressed its displeasure.
Noting that the threats posed by offensive missile capabilities are no longer limited to a few regions around the world, the Pentagon in its report said there were now a number of States in South Asia that are developing an advanced and diverse range of ballistic and cruise missile capabilities.
"Within this context, the United States has discussed potential missile defense cooperation with India. This is a natural outgrowth of India's status as a Major Defense Partner and key element of our Indo-Pacific Strategy," said the Pentagon report on Thursday.
The report, which identifies missile development projects by Russia and China as major threats to the US, did not give any further details about its potential missile defense cooperation with India.
Previously, the US was reluctant to offer its missile defence system to India.
Given the tough neighbourhood that India is in, New Delhi several years ago had approached US and expressed its desire to acquire a missile defense system from it, particularly the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system popular as THAAD.