It is not clear that India must accelerate its defence modernization, particularly capacity building, local manufacturing and access to the most modern defence technologies, if it is to play a role that lives up to its ambitions and potential. The most powerful source of these technologies remains the United States. It should be noted that even the modernization of China`s defence benefited from close cooperation with the United States as part of its “strategic alliance” against the former Soviet Union in the 1980s. Among the “three pillars” of the United States was military technology cooperation under the “Foreign Military Sales” (FMS) status granted to China in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan, this led the United States to build artillery munitions factories and implement the F-8 avionics modernization program until all U.S. military exports to China were suspended after the incident in the square Celestial Peace in June 1989. In late 2014, New Delhi had asked the Pentagon for a “non-paper” on basic agreements, but things only accelerated after the visit to the United States by Manohar Parrikar, then Defense Minister, in December 2015. Despite Indira Gandhi`s return to power in 1980, relations between the two countries gradually improved, although India did not support the United States in its role in the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. The Reagan administration, led by U.S. President Ronald Reagan, provided only limited aid to India. India has explored Washington in the purchase of a range of U.S. defense technologies, including F-5 aircraft, supercomputers, night vision goggles and radars. In 1984, Washington authorized the supply of selected technology to India, including gas turbines for naval frigates and prototype engines for Indian combat aircraft.
There have also been non-public technology transfers, including the commitment of an American company, Continental Electronics, to design and build a new VLF communications station in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, which was commissioned in the late 1980s.  It was not until the late 1990s that considerable efforts were made by the two countries to improve their mutual relations.  One of the first priorities of prime minister Narendra Modi`s new government will be to take stock of the “global strategic partnership” with the United States, which in recent years has proven to be an indispensable partner to India`s economic change and to achieving its ambition to play a greater role on the world stage. The defence partnership, the backbone of the relationship, has flourished. However, given the differences of opinion on India`s treaty on the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile system and outstanding progress in the two remaining basic agreements – the Industrial Security Annex (ISA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), the risk exists: that the S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft missile system is in place and that progress still needs to be made – the Annexation for Industrial Security (ISA) and the (BECA). In June 2015, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter visited India and was the first U.S. Secretary of Defense to visit an Indian military command.