New Delhi - On his seventh and last visit to India as US defence secretary, Ashton Carter is hopeful of President Barack Obama according major defence partner (MDP) status to India.

"It's (MDP) very close to the finish line. It permits us to do things with India that have never been possible before. And it creates a presumption of approval for transactions with India," Carter was quoted on the US Department of Defence website.  Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar responded by observing that defence relations are a major driver of Indo-US bilateral relations.  The two defence ministers were speaking to the media after holding delegation level talks. For India, the meeting was part of its balancing act between Russia and the US.

Carter has been successful in persuading the Indian government to sign the Logistics Sharing Arrangement, a modified version of the Access and Cross Sharing Arrangement (ACSA) with several other quasi-military allies.

However the pact has not become operational because of technical issues on the Indian side.