New Delhi: In what could be a boost to Indo-US Defence cooperation, India has shared a document with the US outlining emerging areas where military technology cooperation can be undertaken by the two nations and specialised teams are likely to conduct visits in the coming weeks to take the proposals forward.
The document, which specified the emerging technology areas where joint development and production would be beneficial, was shared during the recent two plus two dialogue in the US, with officials saying that it was greeted positively and with enthusiasm.
Describing the dialogue as “very warm, receptive and cordial”, officials said several areas of mutual cooperation have been identified that are set to be taken ahead in the coming months. US defence companies, including those which met Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, are also likely to invest in India, officials said, adding that India’s commitment to self-dependence has been received well.
Major US arms manufacturer Raytheon is likely to invest $100 million in setting up production and research facilities in India, while Boeing is exploring the possibility of creating a Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul hub for systems like the P8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft that are used by both nations. Plans by Raytheon could result in the creation of over 2,000 jobs in India.
Co-production of military systems was a key component of the talks, with emerging technology areas including artificial intelligence, cyber defence and space cooperation on the table. “There is now a clear understanding by both sides that jointly working on futuristic technologies is the way forward. It’s a major step above a simple buyer-seller relationship,” officials said.
The Indian side also pitched its shipyards for upcoming purchases planned by the US Coast Guard, showcasing their capability to deliver low cost, high quality products as well as a proven track record on delivery.
US teams are also expected to visit India soon to take forward a proposal to utilise Indian shipyards for repair and overhaul of American warships in the region. Such an arrangement, where US warships can be quickly turned around at Indian facilities, would be a key signal on the level of strategic partnership achieved.
“Closer military-military cooperation, increased engagement, information sharing and possible joint patrolling were discussed, with a focus on high end technology sharing,” officials added.
On the strategic front, the security scenario in the Indo-Pacific was discussed, with both sides sharing their commitment to peace and open access to all. The importance of the Quad initiative was appreciated during the talks and enhanced cooperation discussed. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is likely to visit the remaining quad nations -Japan and Australia – in the coming months.
On the Russia front, officials said that India’s position on the matter was explained in detail and has been understood by the US. All official statements regarding the talks remained positive and constructive.