Monday, 30 September 2013

India, US to jointly develop, produce military hardware

In what may further enrage the fuming Russians, India and the US have  decided to take their defence ties several notches higher through joint development and production of weapons and equipment that has hitherto remained Moscow’s exclusive turf.
Signalling that they are well on their way to cement a new bond, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama said they would in the next year identify specific military technologies to cooperate and collaborate on.
Manmohan and Obama met in the White House in Washington on Friday ahead of the former’s New York visit to attend a United Nations General Assembly meeting.
In a joint statement, the leaders emphasised the need for “more intensive defence cooperation” and reaffirmed the desire to further strengthen defence trade and enhance partnership in defence technology transfer, joint research, co-development and co-production.
The declaration specifically mentioned that the transfers would include the most advanced and sophisticated technology, a major victory for India which has been complaining about the US’ export controls.
The two nations will also work to improve licensing processes and, where applicable, follow expedited licence approval processes to facilitate cooperation.
The growing defence trade between New Delhi and Washington is being resented by Russia, India’s largest arms supplier, as the US has bagged nearly `62,000 crore’s worth of deals in the last decade and is slated to win `30,000 crore’s worth of deals in the next two years.
The US reaffirmed its commitment to fully support India’s full membership in the four international export control regimes, which would further facilitate technology sharing.
The four regimes are the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for the control of nuclear-related technology, the Australia Group for control of chemical and biological technology that could be weaponised, and the Missile Technology Control Regime for the control of rockets and other aerial vehicles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. The US president encouraged US firms’ participation in India’s efforts to enhance defence capacities, and welcomed India’s decision to participate in the “Rim of the Pacific” naval exercise hosted by the US’ Pacific Command in 2014.
Building on ongoing consultations between India and the US on east Asia, central Asia and west Asia, and the trilateral dialogue mechanisms with Afghanistan and Japan respectively, the two sides also agreed to expand their consultations to include a dialogue on the Indian Ocean region.
This is expected to deepen their coordination on issues such as maritime security and conservation of natural resources.
The US last year announced a shift in its strategic focus from the Atlantic to the Asia-Pacific region.
US’ Deputy Defence Secretary recently visited Delhi to announce his nation’s intention to share high-end defence technologies to India by easing its export control regimes. He had also said that under the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative, the US was willing to transfer technology and ease export processes, and look for partnerships.

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