The real story here is that the U.S. is steadily building a broad strategic relationship with New Delhi. Said Mr. Mukherjee, "cooperation in economic and other areas between the United States and India has increased manifold, but so far there has been no defense agreement between the two states." One obvious strategic calculation for both countries is countering the military rise of China.
At a State Department briefing last Friday, a spokesman explained that the U.S. "goal is to help India become a major world power in the 21st century. We understand fully the implications, including military implications, of that statement." Beyond the issue of the jets, the briefer explained, "the U.S. is willing to discuss even more fundamental issues of defense transformation with India, including transformative systems in areas such as command and control, early warning and missile defense." This is a remarkable and underappreciated change in U.S. global strategy, and rest assured it is being noticed in the rest of Asia, and especially in Beijing.
This along with moves to create permanent UN Security council seat for Japan and India as well.