PM Narendra Modi visit to boost Indo-US defence ties

Written by Huma Siddiqui | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 15 2014, 06:14am hrs
Narendra ModiTwo years back, the US had offered as many as 10 technologies under the DTTI.
Indo-US defence cooperation is expected to take a major leap during Prime minister Narendra Modis visit to Washington later this month, with the worlds two largest democracies likely to renew their security collaboration framework, apart from discussing the possibility of India as a non-NATO ally of the US.

As part of track II diplomacy, at a discussion held in New Delhi last week organised by US-based Covington & Burling LLP and Tatva Legal, Captain Todd Squire USN, chief, Office of Defense Cooperation, American Embassy, suggested that during the PMs forthcoming visit the two countries could renew defence cooperation for the next decade, strengthening its scope with preferential treatment to US-based companies to set up shop in India under the governments Make in India policy.

Infact, when US defence secretary Chuck Hagel was in New Delhi in August, in his meeting with defence minister Arun Jaitley, the two sides had decided to take steps for extension of the ten-year defence framework agreement with the US before it expires in July 2015. And it was also agreed upon that the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) programme under, which they will co-produce and co-develop military equipment, will be taken forward.

Two years back, the US had offered as many as 10 technologies under the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI), but not much has happened since then. And, this year again, the US has offered seven more technologies to India.

The key persons in charge of the efforts under DTTI will be secretary, department of defence production, India and under secretary for acquisition, technology and licensing at the Pentagon, the US. With a total of 17 technologies offered to India, nothing has moved forward not due to red tape, but due to lack of clarity.

Ahead of the visit, decks were cleared for contracts worth $2.5 bn 22 Apache attack &15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers for IAF. In August, the Defence Procurement Board (DPB), headed by the defence secretary, had cleared offset proposals for the two contracts estimated at $2.5 billion. This paved the way for the deals to be placed before the DAC, before final approval is sought from the Cabinet Committee on Security.