Deeper military cooperation between India and the US: Vice Chief of Indian Army visiting America

By: |
October 16, 2020 2:03 PM

The visit also assumes significance as it comes at a time when the tensions between India and China are escalating along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

The visit also comes weeks ahead of the US elections next month, BRICS summit and the India-Russia annual summit scheduled for next month. (Photo source: ANI)

Weeks ahead of the 2+2 Indo-US Ministerial meeting, Vice Chief of the Indian Army Lt Gen SK Saini, is leaving for a four-day long visit to the US. The visit also assumes significance as it comes at a time when the tensions between India and China are escalating along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. The visit also comes weeks ahead of the US elections next month, BRICS summit and the India-Russia annual summit scheduled for next month.

The focus of the visit which starts Oct 17-20 is on enhancing military cooperation between both the armies. During his visit the Vice chief will also be visiting the Army component of Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) — US Army Pacific Command (USARPRAC). Apart from witnessing training and equipment capabilities of the US Army, Lt Gen Saini will also be exchanging ideas with the US military leadership and explore areas for further cooperation between the militaries of the two countries. Issues related to joint exercises, capability building, training in niche areas as well as procurement of defence equipment are going to be discussed.

Also, the focus will be on further enhancing the operational and strategic level collaboration between the armies of the two countries. Next year, the two armies will be participating in two major joint exercises including — Yudh Abhyas scheduled to take place in February 2021 and will be followed by Vajra Prahar in March.

India-US Military Cooperation

Later this month the 2+2 dialogue takes place on Oct 26-27 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper are meeting their counterparts External affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

Financial Express Online has reported recently that the two sides are expected finally ink the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA). This final agreement between the countries will help in further deepening the strategic and defence relations. Both countries have already signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) and Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA).

Out of the USD 25 billion defence trade target which both countries are looking at, they have achieved USD 18 billion so far. And this has been achieved over a decade now. With more deals in the pipeline, more jobs have been created in both countries as well there are huge opportunities for the Indian MSMEs to be part of the supply chain.

Though the military hardware being used by the Indian Armed forces are almost 70 per cent Russian, but this trend has been gradually changing due to the recent procurements of big-ticket military platforms and weapons from the US.

This year the deliveries of 15 multi-mission heavy-lift CH 4 Chinook transport helicopters and 22 AH 64E (I) Apache helicopters, which are from the Boeing Company come equipped with Hellfire air-to-surface missiles have been completed.

Announcement related to the armed UAVs from General Atomics through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) is expected soon.

The Indian Army already has inducted the US-based BAE Systems’ M777 Ultra-Light Howitzers. These guns are being assembled in India.

.50 Calibre Sniper Rifle M95 MS Berrett and SIG Sauer’s SiG 716 new automatic rifles are being used by the Indian Army.

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