US defence firms to share technology, classified information with Indian counterparts under new framework

In June 2016, the US had designated India a “Major Defence Partner,” intending to elevate defence trade and technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies.

Published: 10th June 2019 05:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th June 2019 08:37 AM   |  A+A-

India US flags

For representational purposes (File Photo | Reuters)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: American defence firms could soon be sharing critical military technology and classified information with Indian private sector for joint ventures as the two countries move towards a firmer defence alliance. 

India and US are already working on a framework to facilitate such transfers, which will also prescribe specific measures for ensuring safety and security of sensitive technology and classified information, sources said.

In June 2016, the US had designated India a “Major Defence Partner,” intending to elevate defence trade and technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners. 

The move towards such a framework comes at a time when American defence giants-including Boeing and Lockheed Martin are eyeing billions of dollars of contracts in India and have already offered to manufacture some of their key military platforms in India while forging joint ventures with Indian companies.

The American defence industry has been pushing for such a framework for collaboration with Indian defence firms in private sectors for producing military hardware and platforms. They said the government-to-government framework will also bring clarity on issues relating to liability, intellectual property rights and industrial safety.

At present, there is no provision for sharing classified defence information by American companies with the Indian private sector although both countries have been favouring joint development of critical military platforms.

Last month, Lockheed Martin offered to manufacture its newly rolled out F-21 fighter in India, underlining, that it will not sell the aircraft to any other country if India places an order for 114 planes.

The F-21 faces competition from the Dassault Rafale of France, the Swedish Grippen, Russian SU-35 and the Eurofighter Typhoon, built by a consortium of European nations including Germany.

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