Accompanied by a high-level official delegation and representatives of several US defence companies, under secretary of defence for acquisition, technology and logistics Frank Kendall will arrive here next week. Topping his agenda would be the review of existing transfers and identifying new high-end technologies to strengthen New Delhi’s military capabilities. Kendall, a top Pentagon official, will reach Delhi on July 27 for the joint technology group meeting with India’s defence secretary G Mohan Kumar. He is also the US’ point person for the bilateral Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).
Highly-placed sources told FE that the heads of several defence majors including General Atomics, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Honeywell and Raytheon are accompanying him and they will interact with the Indian defence industry captains at a breakfast meeting on July 27. In a joint statement at the end of PM Modi’s recent visit, the US welcomed India’s ratification of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage earlier this year and the significant steps taken by Nuclear Power Corporation of India and Westinghouse towards finalising contractual negotiations by June 2017 on a deal to build six AP1000 reactors in India by 2030. The joint statement stated, “Once completed, this project will fulfill the promise of the US-India civil nuclear agreement, will create jobs in both the United States and India, and will advance our shared clean energy objectives”.
US company General Atomics, which is in talks with the Indian Navy for unmanned aerospace systems, is also a world leader in radiation monitoring systems for nuclear power plants at over 120 sites globally. General Atomics is eyeing huge opportunities in India along with Westinghouse and other nuclear reactor makers. Vivek Lall, global chief executive at General Atomics, will also be interacting with the Indian industry captains. Incidentally, American aerospace majors Lockheed Martin and Boeing have been offering shifting of whole production facilities to India for the F-16 and F-18 ‘Hornets’. “Both companies have made two rounds of presentations to the ministry of defence. Lockheed Martin has been told by the authorities that India is not keen on F-16s and Boeing, which through its tie up with Tata Aerospace, is already making components in India that are used on board its fighter jets,” said sources.
However, after getting clearances from the Obama administration on what information can be provided to India by the two aerospace companies, Lockheed Martin is expected to offer F-35 for the Indian Air Force and Boeing might offer making more parts that could be fitted on board the F-18s.