India-US ink deal to increase defence cooperation

New Delhi (IANS): India and the US on Wednesday signed a framework agreement for closer cooperation in the field of defence.

The agreement was signed by India’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

According to defence ministry sources, the agreement focuses on taking “appropriate measures to enhance India’s defence capability”.

Among other things, India and the US agreed to cooperate on jet engines, aircraft carrier design and construction, and other areas.

The two sides 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 including in manufacturing under ‘Make in India’.

An official statement said that in their meeting, Parrikar and Carter discussed the India-US defence relationship, and the broader India-US Strategic Partnership.

The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to expand and deepen the bilateral defence relationship and also reviewed the existing and emerging regional security dynamics.

The 2015 Framework for the India-US Defence Relationship builds upon the previous framework and successes to guide the bilateral defence and strategic partnership for the next 10 years.

The new framework agreement provides avenues for high-level strategic discussions, continued exchanges between the armed forces of both countries, and strengthening of defence capabilities.

The framework also recognises the transformative nature of the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).

Both India and the US have finalised two project agreements for joint development of Mobile Electric Hybrid Power Sources and the Next Generation Protective Ensembles.

Engaging bilateral cooperation in areas of mutual interest, such as maritime security and knowledge partnership in the field of defence was also agreed upon.

Carter also thanked Parrikar for the help extended in the search for a US helicopter which went missing during the relief operations in quake-hit Nepal.

The defence secretary invited Parrikar to visit the US for the next meeting which Parrikar accepted in principle.