India-USA cooperation


India, US to ink new defence framework on Wednesday


India and the US will ink their new 10-year defence framework on Wednesday to chart out the road ahead for further expansion in bilateral defence ties, ranging from collaboration in maritime security, joint exercises and intelligence-sharing to co-development and co-production of military technologies.

The framework will be inked in meeting between defence minister Manohar Parrikar and his visiting US counterpart Ashton Carter on Wednesday evening.

Carter is also slated to meet PM Narendra Modi, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and national security advisor Ajit Doval earlier on that day after he arrives in New Delhi from a visit to the Eastern Naval Command in Vizag. But the long-pending deals for 22 Apache attack and 15 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters, together worth around $2.5 billion, will take some more time to be actually signed. 

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With the slow process of approvals in the finance ministry, the helicopter-manufacturer Boeing has now extended the validity of its bids to June 30. As for the new framework to replace the earlier one inked in 2005, it was finalized during the visit of President Barack Obama to India in January.

A key new element in it is the incorporation of the " Defence Trade and Technology Initiative" (DTTI), which involves co-development and co-production of military technologies ranging from aircraft carrier launch systems to mini spy drones, as reported by TOI earlier. Carter, incidentally, had spearheaded the entire DTTI mechanism when he was earlier serving as the deputy secretary of defence at Pentagon.

Under it, India and the US have agreed to begin with four relatively modest "pathfinder projects" as well as explore development of aircraft carrier technologies and jet engines. The pathfinder products are the Raven mini unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), "roll-on, roll-off" mission modules for C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, mobile electric hybrid power sources, and chemical-biological warfare protection gear for soldiers.
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The US is also offering the Scorpion light attack aircraft which can be used as an intermediate jet trainer (IJT) by the IAF. This has gained traction since Hindustan Aeronautics has till now failed to deliver the indigenous Sitara IJT, which was first sanctioned in 1999, as reported by TOI earlier.