NEW DELHI: India and the United States on Wednesday renewed framework for guiding defence relationship for the next 10 years with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter finalising two joint projects to develop protective ensembles for soldiers and mobile generators.
Carter was greeted by Parrikar at South Block and got a tri-services guard of honour. The US defence secretary also called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
“Both India and the United States have finalised two projects for joint development of Mobile Electric Hybrid Power Sources and Next Generation Protective Ensembles,” said a joint press release. These are two of the four “pathfinder projects” identified under the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) during US President Barack Obama’s visit in January. The other two are next-generation Raven
Minis UAVs and roll-on and roll-off kits for C-130J Super Hercules.
According to the joint press release, the new revised document “provides avenues for high-level strategic discussions, continued exchanges between armed forces of both countries and strengthening of defence capabilities”. Significantly, both officials “agreed to expedite discussions to take forward cooperation on jet engines, aircraft carrier design and construction”. India is hoping for US assistance to build its largest ever warship — 65,000 tonne INS Vishal Indigenous Aircraft Carrier-II. The Defence Minister-headed Defence Acquisitions Council (DAC) had in May sanctioned an initial `30 crore as seed money for the project. “The two also agreed to pursue co-development and co-production projects that will offer tangible opportunities for American defence industries to build defence partnership with Indian industries,” the press release added.
Carter admitted that bureaucratic inertia on both sides was a difficult hurdle to overcome. “There is a legacy and historical burden of bureaucracy in both countries and it’s a constant exercise in stripping that away,” he said. Besides, both the leaders agreed to “continue their efforts to enhance bilateral cooperation in areas of mutual interest, such as maritime security and knowledge partnership in the field of defence”.