US Defense Secretary's Visit To India To Focus On Major Military Deals

  • Our Bureau
  • 08:17 AM, May 2, 2015
  • 2396

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter will be signing a 10-year Indo-US Defense framework Agreement and also fast-track the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) under which the two nations will co-produce and develop military equipment in India, IHS Janes reported Thursday.

US defense secretary Ashton Carter's two-day visit to India in early June is expected to raise the levels of bilateral strategic and defense co-operation between the two countries, IHS Jane's quoted senior Indian military officials as saying.

"We are looking to do more in terms of (military) exercises and joint training and interoperability with our Indian counterparts," US Ambassador to India Richard Rahul Verma had said at the first US-India Think Tank Summit in Delhi on 28 April.

"Hopefully we will provide more in terms of increasing India's indigenous capability to make defense products," he said in reference to Carter's visit.

Verma said the two sides were "tracking" 77 different initiatives that had emerged from Obama's visit. "We have re-energized or launched 30 new initiatives, 30 different dialogues," he said without elaborating.

Officials said that during his visit, Carter was also expected to review progress in the four 'pathfinder' technologies that the US had agreed to transfer to India under the DTTI.

These include the know-how to co-develop and jointly manufacture AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven battlefield unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and roll-on/roll-off ISR modules for the IAF's 11 Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 transport aircraft.

Two additional technologies - to develop and build mobile electric hybrid power systems (MEHPS) and integrated Protection Ensemble Increment-2 clothing for protection against nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare - are also being transferred.

The two technical working groups set up earlier in 2015 to jointly develop aircraft engines and electromagnetic aircraft launch systems (EMALS) for aircraft carriers will also be reviewed during the defense secretary's visit.

Meanwhile, Carter is expected to push India to sign a USD2.5 billion contract for 22 Boeing AH-64E Apache and 15 Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopters for the IAF, negotiations for which were completed in late 2013.

On 1 April, Boeing agreed to hold the price for both platforms for three months until 30 June, but is believed to have informed the IAF that it would be unable to do so thereafter. Industry sources said this was the ninth instance that Boeing had agreed to keep the deal going at the same price.

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