Discussions to Revitalise Indo-US Defence Technology Sharing Pact

As part of the second ‘two-plus-two’ dialogue, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Foreign Minister S Jaishankar are all-set to leave to Washington next month. The talks will be held with their counterparts from the US. 

The meeting is planned to revitalise the defence technology sharing pact with new ideas for the development and implementation of both the countries’ defence system. This is because the Indo-US defence cooperation is getting weak as the two countries are not virtually having any joint development projects to develop defence hardware right now.

In 2012, the Defence Technology Trade Initiative (DTTI) was signed and launched, aiming to identify and promote major joint development and manufacturing projects for the defence forces. But, the pact has not yielded any major results. 

One of the projects identified under the pact was to share jet engine technology. This initiative has had a hard time due to the strict export control regime in the US. Another reason for the struggle is that India has a weak business case.

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Subhash Chandra, Secretary of Defence Production and the US counterpart—Ellen M Lord, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment are looking at setting up an industry forum that can identify and suggest practical projects one can expect in the near future. 

The government has received a strong recommendation from the industry to set up a Defence Industry Advisory Committee (DIAC) that is capable of promoting technology sharing. However, the US has been reluctant to implement the recommendations.

According to speculations, start-ups are on focus as Indian companies can work coherently with the US-based research labs to develop cutting edge defence technologies. In addition, it is also probable that they discuss the possibility of jointly developing systems to pursue export opportunities for approved third nations.

Similarly, the draft of an industrial security pact has also been finalised between India and the US. The formal final draft of the pact is to be inked shortly. The pact enables US military manufacturers to share high-end technology with India.

For any clarifications/feedback on the topic, please contact the writer at apoorva.n@cleartax.in

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