In an effort to enhance defence cooperation and strengthen strategic ties,India U.S. Close In on Jet Engine Dealnearing a significant jet engine deal. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh revealed that the discussions primarily focused on converging strategic interests and fostering enhanced security cooperation between the two nations.
Initiating negotiations for a ‘Security of Supply’ (SoS) arrangement and a ‘Reciprocal Defence Procurement’ (RDP) agreement, India and the U.S. aim to ensure long-term supply chain stability. Defence sources have stated that the assembly of the General Electric GE-414 jet in India is on the verge of completion, with expectations of finalizing the deal during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to the U.S. later this month. During the visit of U.S. Secretary of Defence Lloyd J. During the visit of U.S. Secretary of Defence Lloyd J. Austin to India, both nations finalized a roadmap for ‘Defence Industrial Cooperation,’ which will steer the policy direction for the foreseeable future.
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Strengthening Defence Ties
Several key areas were discussed during talks between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Mr. Austin, including capacity building, Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), strategic infrastructure, infra development, and the establishment of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities by U.S. companies in India. India also urged U.S. companies, especially Boeing, to increase sourcing from India under the recently signed mega-civil aircraft deal with Air India.
The discussions encompassed collaboration with the U.S. on critical and advanced technology, with a particular focus on establishing MRO facilities in India for equipment used by the Indian armed forces, which would also serve the region. India emphasized the need for the removal of obstacles hindering the sale and transfer of equipment to other friendly countries.
Regarding MRO, India expressed its enthusiasm for scaling up operations at the Larsen & Toubro (L&T) yard in Kattupalli, Tamil Nadu. With two U.S. ships having already undergone repairs at the facility, an agreement is in place to further expand this collaboration. India believes that scaling up these efforts will not only bolster its MRO capabilities but also boost the local industry.
To foster cutting-edge technology cooperation, the U.S.-India Business Council will launch the India-U.S. Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) on June 21, coinciding with Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the U.S. This initiative aims to encourage innovative partnerships between U.S. Indian enterprises, investors, start-up accelerators, and academic research institutions’ will work in tandem with existing government-to-government collaborations, contributing to the advancement of technology in the defence sector.
Roadmap for Future Collaboration
The two Ministers explored ways to build resilient supply chains and identified opportunities for co-development and co-production of new and existing systems. They also discussed strengthening industrial cooperation. The new roadmap aims to expedite technology cooperation and co-production in areas such as air combat and land mobility systems, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, munitions, and the undersea domain. This initiative seeks to revolutionize cooperation between the U.S. and Indian defence sectors and provide India access to cutting-edge technologies, supporting its defence modernization plans.
Furthermore, Mr. Austin and Mr. Singh pledged to review regulatory hurdles that hinder closer industry-to-industry cooperation. Furthermore, they reached a consensus to commence discussions regarding a Security of Supply Arrangement and a Reciprocal Defence Procurement agreement, fostering stability in the long-term supply chain.
Strengthening Security Cooperation
During his visit, Mr. Austin engaged in discussions with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, where they exchanged views on regional and global security concerns, including maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region. They highlighted the importance of greater maritime collaboration and committed to enhancing operational cooperation across all military services. The talks also focused on strengthening information sharing and increasing cooperation in the maritime domain.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh emphasized that the talks aimed to enhance defence cooperation, promote the convergence of strategic interests, and foster strengthened security cooperation. The partnership between India and the U.S. plays a critical role in ensuring a free, open, and rules-bound Indo-Pacific region. Both countries are committed to closely working across various domains to build capacity and further consolidate their strategic partnership.
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