More than a month ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington, India and the US on Wednesday held extensive talks focusing on operationalising their ‘Major Defence Partnership’ and co-development of military platforms.
Boosting defence industrial cooperation, sharing of critical technology and having joint long-term research were also the focus of the 17th meeting of India-US Defence Policy Group (DPG) that was held in Washington.
The two sides also deliberated on operationalising the ‘Major Defence Partnership’ and ways to improve supply chain security at the 17th meeting of India-US DPG that was held in Washington.
“The two sides reviewed the progress made in furthering defence industrial cooperation and operationalising the India-US major defence partnership,” the defence ministry said.
In June 2016, the US designated India a “Major Defence Partner” paving the way for sharing of critical military equipment and technology.
Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane and US Under Secretary of Defence for Policy Colin Kahl co-chaired the DPG meeting.
In a statement, the ministry described the talks as “cordial and productive”.
“Important aspects such as military-to-military cooperation, implementation of foundational defence agreements, exercises and the ongoing and future cooperative activities in the Indian Ocean Region were discussed,” it said.
The ministry said considerable focus was given on the ways and means to enhance defence industrial cooperation, including technology partnership, long-term research and development and improving supply chain security.
“The meeting also discussed promoting co-development and co-production in India including potential areas and projects where Indian and US defence companies could work together,” it said.
It said the two sides agreed to encourage both the private and government stakeholders to utilise the innovation ecosystems and promote defence start-ups.
The DPG is the apex official-level mechanism between India’s defence ministry and US department of defence. It comprehensively reviews and guides all aspects of bilateral defence cooperation with a focus on policy.
The Indo-US defence ties have been on an upswing in the last few years.
The two countries have inked key defence and security pacts over the past few years, including the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016 that allows their militaries to use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies.
The two sides also signed COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) in 2018 which provides for interoperability between the two militaries and provides for the sale of high-end technology from the US to India.
In October 2020, India and the US sealed the BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement) agreement to further boost bilateral defence ties.
The pact provides for sharing of high-end military technology, logistics and geospatial maps between the two countries.