US Deputy Defence Secretary offers tech access
By N C Bipindra | Published: 18th September 2013 10:02 AM |
US Deputy Defence Secretary Ashton B Carter has offered India collaboration in its Javelin Anti-tank Guided Missile (ATGM) project, apart from proposing to give access to latest defence technologies which Washington has made available only to its closest allies.
Carter, who arrived here late on Monday, met top defence and security officials at Hyderabad House.
Defence Secretary R K Mathur was one of the top officials who met Carter here. Sources said National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon was the interlocutor with the American Deputy Defence Secretary, in keeping with protocol and because Defence Minister A K Antony is now in hospital after undergoing minor prostate surgery on Sunday.
Though the Indian defence establishment was silent on the military technologies that the US offered at the meeting, Carter had reportedly listed the offers, such as the Javelin ATGM, in a letter to the defence ministry.
India had been looking at the Javelin as a weapon system for its ATGM requirements. Yet the Israeli Spike, which is cheaper, seems to be the Indian choice. The present American offer of technology transfer is possibly aimed at changing the situation in favour of the US defence industry.
The American proposals to India may come up for discussion when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets US President Barack Obama on September 27, said sources who added that these offers were at an initial stage. The only defence procurement proposal likely to be signed with the US during the September 27 meeting is the Indian order for six additional C-130J military aircraft costing `4,000 crore.
Though there are other procurement proposals, such as the 145 BAE Systems’ M777 Ultra Light Howitzers worth `4,000 crore. Since the deal is now uncertain, the cost of the deal is likely to go up by another `1,200 crore in the near future, owing to increasing costs.
Carter has already been quoted as saying that the US was working on easing technology export control regimes to meet India’s needs.
“So co-production and co-development projects...I’m bringing a number of them to India to present and say only you know whether you’d be interested in these, but what I can tell you is I’ve gotten the bureaucratic obstacles out of the way,” Carter was quoted as saying by a report from Washington ahead of his travel to India.
The Deputy Secretary of Defence said that before offering anything for discussions, he will try to remove all the bureaucratic hurdles for it.
“I have reached out to the US industry and said I know you all want to do business in India. You should understand that doing business in India in the long run is going to mean co-development and co-production,” he said.
India has in the recent years bought a whole lot of American military equipment.