Indo-US ties give defence sector a leg up in 2006

New Delhi, Dec 29 | Updated: Dec 30 2006, 05:46am hrs
India is looking forward to a new year of stronger defence relations with the US, Russia and other nations. The country had signed major cooperation agreements and procurement contracts with these nations in 2006.

The landmark agreement signed between India and the US during the American President George W Bushs visit will allow the country to buy more sophisticated fighter aircraft and other high-tech arms from the US as part of its closer defense. This would include state-of-the-art combat aircraft including the F-16 and F-18.

An agreement was also signed with Germany to change the contour of the relationship from a buyer-seller arrangement to that of partners. The agreement aims to establish a strategic dialogue for the benefit of the armed forces at the level of defence secretaries. Conscious of the significance of international military cooperation as an important element of security, this group called the India-Germany High Defence Committee (HDC), will meet once a year alternately, in India and Germany .

Another agreement signed with France seeks to promote cooperation between the two countries in defence and military fields, defence industry, production, research and development and procurement of defence material. It also establishes a framework which aims to cover cooperative activities in the field of defence.

Also, the capability for air defence against incoming ballistic missile threats, new defence procurement procedure and manual with more stress on transparency in defence deals, the joint doctrine for the armed forces, were some of the major achievements of the ministry of defence during 2006.

Successful tests of BrahMos missile, launching of army wide area network and joint exercises with the various armed forces of various countries were some of the other significant events of the year.

Joint exercises were carried out by the armed forces with various countries in India and abroad.