India is open to 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in defence if firms are willing to provide full technology transfer, a top Indian defence official has said India and the US are set to enter a critical phase of co-development and co-production. India’s Secretary of Defence Production, Ashok Gupta, said this during an interaction with US corporate sector here last week that was organised by US India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) and attended among others by representatives from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, BAE systems, Honeywell and AECOM.
Sharing the contours of the US-India defence partnership, Gupta said, “The government of India would be open to consider 100 per cent FDI in defence, should the company be willing to provide full technology transfer,” according to a media release issued by USISPF. During the discussion, representatives of industry raised concerns, such as trade-offs between the L1 model (lowest price) versus technology transfer and, overall best value and the capability that India was looking to buy and develop.
Executives from the US defence industry also complimented India on the progress that has been made under the ‘Make in India’ campaign, the statement said. Mukesh Aghi, president of USISPF, spoke about the importance of dialogues where both sides can have a frank exchange, adding that, “collaboration between India and the US on defence and technology transfer are critical.” In his presentation, Gupta outlined the criteria by which US original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can participate in the Indian defence market. He also discussed the standards that the government will use for the selection of the OEMs. In addition, he spoke about the role that Indian public sector units (PSUs) in the defense industry will play in the ‘Make in India’ programme.