FICCI defence and aerospace delegation to boost Indo-US ties

By: | Published: December 5, 2015 12:09 PM

Concurrent to the visit of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, of India to USA, FICCI is sending a 14-member high-powered defense and aerospace business delegation to USA from December 6 to 11, 2015. The FICCI delegation is led by S N Subrahmanyan, Deputy Managing Director and President, Larsen and Toubro.

Concurrent to the visit of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, of India to USA, FICCI is sending a 14-member high-powered defense and aerospace business delegation to USA from December 6 to 11, 2015. The FICCI delegation is led by S N Subrahmanyan, Deputy Managing Director and President, Larsen and Toubro.

India, the third-largest economy in Asia, is often characterized as a nascent great power and “indispensable partner” of the United States and possibly a potential counterweight to China. Of late, Washington and New Delhi have been pursuing a “strategic partnership” based on shared values and apparently convergent geopolitical interests. Both countries have moved on from being “engaged democracies” to “strategic partners” in high technology areas like defence, space, nuclear and cyber security. The two countries have since engaged in numerous and combined military exercises, and major U.S. arms sales to India are under way.

During the visit, the Indian delegation will interact with Parrikar, senior officials of US Department of Defense, strategic think tanks, captains of US defense and aerospace companies and American business chambers.

Traditionally, defence trade between India and US is largely based on the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route and all strategic commercial dialogues are done under G2G route. The FMS route is unsustainable for long-term development as it involves a one-time purchase from American defense contractors and does not enhance the technological know-how of Indian partners. Transfer of technology (ToT) is imperative for Indian industries to kick-start the much-needed defense industrial base and generate economic spin-offs. Therefore, Indian industry looks forward to technology collaborations, joint R&D and joint ventures to commercialise the innovations and matured industrial products.

Dr. A Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI, said “We believe that for the success of defense cooperation between India and US, the industry to industry interactions will be very crucial to understand the requirements, capabilities and possible areas of cooperation. Apart from the current pathways like FMS and Defence Technology Trade Initiative (DTTI), there is a need to explore opportunities to move forward B2B engagements with the Tier 1 and 2 of the US and Indian MSMEs.”

The FICCI delegation is slated to meet with Mr. Marty Walsh, Mayor of Boston; Mr. Charlie Baker, Governor of Massachusetts; Secretary Cohen; Senator John McCain, Chairman, Senate Committee on Armed Services; Mr. Marc Bernstein, Associate Director, Lincoln Labs; Mr. Ami Bera, Co-Chair, House India Caucus; Mr. George Holding, Co-Chair, House India Caucus; Mr. Ed Royce, Chair, House Foreign Affairs Committee; Mr. Eliot Engel, Co-Chair, House Foreign Affairs Committee; William Todd, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (PDAS); DAS Manpreet Anand; ADAS Sean Stein; Mr. Frank Kendall, Undersecretary for Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics; Mr. Matthew Borman, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration; Department of Commerce; Mr. Arun Kumar, Assistant Secretary Department of Commerce; Hudson President Dr. Ken Weinstein; Mr. Doug Feith, former Under Secretary of Defense Policy; Mr. Subodh Rajendra Babu; Mr. Jayant Patil; Col. H.S. Shankar Michael Pillsbury, Hudson Institute; Mr. Northrop Grumman; and Mr. Keith Webster, Director of International Cooperation.

The delegation will undertake a visit to MassChallenge facilities, startup space, and lab. MassChallenge is a start-up, accelerator that includes startups in the defense/robotics/aerospace fields and has partnerships with CASIS/Boeing/NASA to fund aerospace innovation. It will get a ring-side view of Lincoln Labs and hold discussions on federally funded R&D facilities, technology transfer, Intellectual Property and joint development strategies. A lunch roundtable is also being organized with representatives of American defense industry and Defense Minister Parrikar. The delegation will also visit US Army Research Laboratory and hold a meeting with officials of the Department of Commerce with Bureau of Industry and Security.

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