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India-US focus: Co-development and co-production of military technology

Technology sharing agreement to be negotiated

India-US focus: Co-development and co-production of military technology

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin during the Tri-Service Guard of Honour at Manekshaw Centre, Delhi Cantt., on Monday. Tribune Photo: Mukesh Aggarwal



Tribune News Service

Ajay Banerjee

New Delhi, June 5

India and US today announced to focus on ‘co-development and co-production of new and existing technologies.

Notably, the two countries will start negotiations on ‘security supply agreement’ and ‘reciprocal supplyagreement’. These would help sharing of technology between companies of either country. It is a kind of foundationalagreement, sources said.

In the past the two countries have inked key defence and security pacts over the past few years, including the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016 that allows their militaries to use each other's bases for repair and replenishment of supplies.

A statement of the Indian Ministry of Defence gave details of the bilateral meeting between Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his counterpart US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin today saying the two sides ‘concluded a roadmap that will guide policies on US-India defence industrial cooperation for the next few years’.

It said the two Ministers explored ways of building resilient supply chains. “Both sides will identify opportunities for co-development of new technologies and co-production of existing and new systems and facilitate increased collaboration between defence start-up ecosystems of the two countries”.

“They concluded a roadmap for US-India Defence Industrial Cooperation which shall guide the policy direction for the next few years”, the MoD said.

After the meeting Austin told reporters that theUS has more desire to share defence technology with India.In June 2016, the US designated India a "Major Defence Partner" paving way for sharing of critical military equipment and technology.

The two sides focus on identifying ways to strengthen industrial cooperation and agreed to continue the multifaceted bilateral defence cooperation activities.

They welcomed the inaugural dialogues held recently focusing on advanced domains like defence artificial intelligence and defence space – conducted on May 22 in New Delhi.The US had then issued a statement saying two sides have commitment “to expand and deepen bilateral defence cooperation in advanced domains”.

The India-US partnership is critical for ensuring a free, open and rules-bound Indo-Pacific region, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday after holding wide-ranging talks with his American counterpart Lloyd Austin.

Rajnath Singh said: “India-US partnership is critical for ensuring a free, open and rules-bound Indo-Pacific region. We look forward to closely work with the US across the domains for capacity building and further consolidating our strategic partnership”.

India and US are in discussion on General Electric's proposal to share technology with India for fighter jet engines and New Delhi's plan to procure 30 MQ-9B armed drones at a cost of over USD 3 billion from US manufacturer General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.

On Friday night Austin while speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on “Our initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology with India” said let us explore new ways to co-develop key defence platforms.

President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Modi announced in May last year the US-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) to elevate and expand the strategic technology partnership and defence industrial cooperation between the two countries.

The iCET is expected to forge closer linkages between the government, academia and industry of the two countries in areas such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, 5G and 6G, biotech, space and semiconductors.

Senior officials from Ministry of Defence, including Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan, Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane and Chairman Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Dr Samir V Kamat, participated in the meeting.

The delegation-level talks were preceded by a Tri-Service Guard of Honour to Secretary Austin.

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