In no less than a milestone for PM Narendra Modi, US has recognised India as a ‘major defence partner’, during the Prime Minister’s visit to America. PM Modi met US President Barack Obama and the announcement from US came as part of the two countries’ joint statement.
Noting that the US-India defense relationship can be an anchor of stability, and given the increasingly strengthened cooperation in defense, US recognised India as a major defence partner.
We take a look at seven key highlights in the India-US joint statement that will benefit India’s defence sector, help it combat terrorism and ensure greater geos-strategic coorperation with US.
Closest allies, sharing technology: US will continue to work toward facilitating technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners. Obama and Modi reached an understanding under which India would receive license-free access to a wide range of dual-use technologies in conjunction with steps that India has committed to take to advance its export control objectives.
DTTI & Make in India: The two committed to enhance cooperation in support of the Modi government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative and expand the co-production and co-development of technologies under the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).
The new DTTI working groups will include agreed items covering naval systems, air systems, and other weapons systems. The leaders announced the finalization of the text of an Information Exchange Annex under the Joint Working Group on Aircraft Carrier Technology Cooperation.
In support of the Make In India initiative, and to support the development of robust defense industries and their integration into the global supply chain, US will facilitate export of goods and technologies, consistent with US law, for projects, programs and joint ventures in support of official US-India defense cooperation.
Priority partners: The leaders applauded the completion of a roadmap for cooperation under the 2015 US-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region, which will serve as a guide for collaboration in the years to come. They resolved that US and India should look to each other as priority partners in the Asia Pacific and the Indian Ocean region.
Cyber-security: Both leaders committed to deepen cooperation on cybersecurity and welcomed the understanding reached to finalize the framework for US-India cyber relationship in the near term.
They committed to enhance cyber collaboration on critical infrastructure, cybercrime, and malicious cyber activity by state and non-state actors, capacity building, and cybersecurity research and development, and to continue discussions on all aspects of trade in technology and related services, including market access.
Maritime security: The leaders affirmed their support for US-India cooperation in promoting maritime security. They reiterated the importance they attach to ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight and exploitation of resources as per international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and settlement of territorial disputes by peaceful means.
Military cooperation: The leaders applauded the enhanced military to military cooperation between the two countries especially in joint exercises, training and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR).
They expressed their desire to explore agreements which would facilitate further expansion of bilateral defense cooperation in practical ways. In this regard, they welcomed the finalization of the text of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA).
The agreement enables both militaries to use each other’s assets and bases for repair and replenishment of supplies. The move assumes importance as both sides seek to counter the growing maritime assertiveness of China.
Combating terrorism & message to Pakistan: The leaders committed to strengthen cooperation against terrorist threats from extremist groups, such as Al-Qa’ida, Da’esh/ISIL, Jaish-e Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, D Company and their affiliates, including through deepened collaboration on UN terrorist designations. In this context, they directed their officials to identify specific new areas of collaboration at the next meeting of US–India Counter-terrorism Joint Working Group.
Recognizing an important milestone in the US-India counter-terrorism partnership, the leaders applauded the finalization of an arrangement to facilitate the sharing of terrorist screening information. They also called for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai and 2016 Pathankot terrorist attacks to justice.