India, US agree to renew defence agreement

India, US agree to renew defence agreement

Increased focus on export licensing and technology transfer; co-development of new military technologies

India, US agree to renew defence agreement

India and the US have agreed to renew the 10-year defence cooperation agreement with increased focus on export licensing and technology transfer that may eventually lead to co-development of new military technologies and production of critical strategic hardware, currently used by the US armed forces, in India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama have welcomed the decision to renew the 2005 Framework for the Indo-US Defence Relationship for ten more years, says the joint statement issued at the conclusion of the summit meeting between the two leaders.

The 2005 agreement was signed by then defence minister Pranab Mukherjee and his US counterpart Donald Rumsfeld. Subsequent to the umbrella 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.

In the last 10 years, US corporations sold military goods and platforms worth $ 10 billion from big corporations like Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, mostly through the government-to-government route.

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, who visited India in August, stated at a public function in Delhi that the two nations should now “transform the defence industrial cooperation from simply buying and selling to co-production, co-development and freer exchange of technology.”

“India and the US will build an enduring partnership in which both sides treat each other at the same level as their closest partners, including defence technology transfers, trade, research, co-production and co-development,” says the statement.

India's planned purchase list includes Apache attack helicopters and Chinook heavy-lift choppers for the Air Force and four additional P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft for the Navy. The US will also participate in a major way in India's planned national defence university, slated to come up at Binola, Gurgaon, near Delhi. Moreover, the two countries will expand military-to-military partnerships, including joint training and exercises.

Incidentally, the US and the Indian Army have just concluded a bilateral war exercise named “Yudh Abhyas” at an Army base at Chaubattia near Ranikhet.