The military trade between India and the US is expected to cross $ 25 billion over the next few years from the existing $ 18 billion. In fact, the Indian acquisition of high-end military platforms from the US has ensured jobs in the defence companies in that country and the defence relationship between the two countries has now emerged as a major pillar of India-US strategic partnership. Both countries have been intensifying efforts to further strengthen relations not only among the three services but also in defence trade which has been growing in the last decade.
There has been a significant increase in the defence trade, joint exercises, personnel exchanges, maritime domain awareness, counter-piracy and exchanges between each of the three services. The frequency and number of bilateral as well as trilateral exercises have increased and its more than other countries.
As has been reported earlier the two countries in 2005 had inked a new framework for the India-US Defence Relations which outlined the priorities in defence and maritime security, counter-terrorism and disaster relief.
Role of an Indian American in Military Trade
An Indian American Dr Vivek Lall, who is currently Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at Lockheed Martin (LM) Aeronautics, has played a critical role in some of the big defence deals between the two countries over the years. He has the distinction of being commended by several US Presidents in his career as well as world leaders across the globe.
Sources have confirmed that Lall is going to be present at the `Howdy Modi’ even in Houston, Texas where Prime Minister Modi and the US President Trump will address more than 50,000 Indian Diaspora. All eyes are on him as with his respect in the White House and in the Indian government, both countries hope to mutually gain in trade and high-end technology.
The path-breaking military deals concluded by Lall include the P8I Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) aircraft for the Indian Navy, C-17 Globemaster III (military transport aircraft), anti-ship Harpoon missiles, the Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian Attack Helicopters, and CH-47F (I) Chinook helicopters for the Indian Air Force (IAF). He has led teams which have been in several campaigns including pan India strategic industrial tie-ups.
The last big order Lockheed Martin had was for C-130J Super Hercules. Earlier this year the US administration has put its seal of approval for the sale of $2.6 billion twenty-four MH-60R Multi-Mission helicopters for the Indian Navy. This deal is going to be government to government and through the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) route. The company had unveiled its F21 fighter aircraft at the Aero India has offered it to the IAF competition.
In May 2018, Lall was also appointed by the US Government in a key advisory role to the US cabinet secretary heading the Department of Transportation Washington DC which affects the US and global aviation policies and technologies.
This Indian American, prior to the assignment was Chief Executive in charge of US and International Strategic Development at General Atomics, and was responsible for creating the most significant US India bilateral defence opportunity with the armed Predator Guardian unmanned platform.