Washington: The US wants to be not only India's security partner of the first resort but also its "premier partner" in its extraordinary growth story, the Pentagon has said. These remarks were made by Pentagon Press Secretary Brig Gen Patrick Ryder on Wednesday while responding to a question on the recently launched India-US initiative on critical emerging technologies, which has a significant defence component in it.

"The high level of participation from across the US government, US industry, and our universities is unprecedented, and sends a strong signal that the United States wants not only to be India's security partner of first resort - but to be the premier partner in India's extraordinary growth story," Ryder said.

The Department of Defence is excited to work with other US agencies and partners as part of the White House-led United States-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET), he said.

"We look forward to sharing more information on our defence cooperation with India as the new initiatives develop moving forward. These initiatives will accelerate a shift from defence sales to defence joint production and development and promote integration between US and Indian defence firms," Ryder said.

Earlier this month, iCET was launched at the direction of US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi who after their Tokyo meeting in May 2022 announced to elevate and expand the strategic technology partnership and defence industrial cooperation between the governments, businesses, and academic institutions of the two countries.

Under the iCET, the two countries have identified six areas of cooperation which would include co-development and co-production, that would gradually be expanded to Quad, then to NATO, followed by Europe and the rest of the world.

In January, the Biden administration also said that India is an important partner of choice for the United States.