India to talk defence pact during Hagel visit

India to talk defence pact during Hagel visit

India and the US will discuss the draft of a new bilateral umbrella agreement on defence cooperation during the visit of Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel.

The new agreement is likely to come into effect from 2015 when the previous pact — New Framework for Defence Relations, signed in 2005 — expires. It was signed by then defence minister Pranab Mukherjee and his US counterpart, Donald Rumsfeld.

Following the 2005 cooperation agreement, the US established itself as a major supplier of military hardware to India, one of the world’s most lucrative arms market where Russia used to have an upper hand.

Over the last 10 years, big US corporations sold military goods and platforms worth billions to the armed forces, mostly through the government-to-government route.

Hagel’s maiden visit, however, would not lead to any immediate commercial transaction. It would focus more on future strategies on co-production and co-development, as well as research on new technologies besides defence trade and bilateral exercises.

The meetings with Indian leadership will also focus on the converging interests of India and the US in the Asia Pacific as well as the regional security construct in the context of Afghanistan. 

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