US-India defense trade to surge $80 billion: US envoy at DefExpo


Ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit, US Ambassador Kenneth Juster outlined a broad spectrum of defense collaborations that his country is looking forward to having with India, which will be one of the key agendas when the leaders of the two sides meet later this month.India and the US already have a mechanism for military exchange; the defense industry partnership is aimed at further deepening collaboration through joint manufacturing.

Mr Juster, who was attending the biennial 2020 defense expo in Lucknow, exuded confidence that the US-India defense trade would surge to $80 billion in the coming years.He said that firms from both sides are already collaborating in defense equipment production here, and many are also participating in the ongoing Expo.Lockheed Martin and Tata collaborated on C-130 and F-16 jets, while Boeing and HAL have jointly produced the fuselages for AH-64 Apache in Hyderabad, he added.

The participating US firms have produced high-tech defense equipment and networks, as well as advanced aircraft and missile defense systems.These systems would not only benefit the militaries of the two nations but also their partner countries, the ambassador said, stressing that cooperation will continue to grow stronger.He said India must move toward systems that are fast and efficient, and operable with the equipment from other partner nations.Mr Juster further said that the US is keen on collaborating in India’s upcoming defense industrial corridor projects in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.“We look forward to a strong partnership between the US and Indian firms in defense equipment manufacturing,” the official added.Currently, the US-India defense trade is estimated at $18 billion per annum.

The 11th edition of the mega defense exhibition, or DefExpo, is being held from February 5-9 in the Uttar Pradesh city of Lucknow.More than 170 foreign military manufacturers and delegates from 70 countries, including Russia, the United States, the UK, and Israel, are participating in the event. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and a host of foreign dignitaries, including ministers, attended the inaugural session of the Expo on January 5.

Maldives Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi, UK Minister for Defence Procurement James Heappey, UAE Minister of State for Defense Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah, Gujarat Governor Anandiben Patel, and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, among others, participated in the function.