India-US defence ties are poised to move into a higher trajectory, with the defence ministers of the two countries finalizing a roadmap for intensifying high-tech military collaborations, which will be epitomised in a jet engine deal.
India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held wide-ranging talks in New Delhi on June 5 with his US counterpart Lloyd Austin on major platforms for defence collaboration.
The talks focused a great deal on indigenous manufacturing of jet engines in India, which is likely to be the showpiece of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US on April 21-25.
The two ministers discussed the General Electric’s proposal to share technology with India for fighter jet engines and New Delhi’s plan to procure 30 MQ-9B armed drones from US defence major General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc
The discussion focused on advancing high-technology and innovation under the US-India Initiative on Advancing Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET). INDUS-X, to be organised by USIBC, is scheduled to be held over two days in Washington just before Mr. Modi reaches the US. The iCET was launched in January during National Security Advisor Ajit Doval’s visit to the US and he along with and his U.S. counterpart Jake Sullivan chaired its inaugural meeting.
Discussions for co-development under iCET also include infantry combat vehicles and long-range artillery systems among others.
The talks also dwelt on enhancing cooperation in shaping a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific against the backdrop of China’s increasing aggressiveness in the region.
“I’m returning to India to meet with key leaders for discussions about strengthening our Major Defense Partnership. Together, we’re advancing a shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Gen. Austin tweeted soon after arriving in New Delhi.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.
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