New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today said “extra precaution” is being taken at the borders ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit not just as a security measure for him but also to prevent incidents which might be undertaken to divert attention.
The Minister also said that expansion of the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative with the US can be expected during the high-profile visit.
“From our (Defence Ministry) side, we have made all the arrangements...the borders are well protected, well guarded and extra precaution is being taken,” Parrikar told reporters here.
He said extra precaution is being taken not only for security but to prevent if someone tries “to focus the attention of the world in a different direction”.
“Basically, if they do something in Kashmir, security (of Obama) is not a problem but you (media) will run there,” he said.
He was replying to questions about security arrangements being done for Obama who will be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade.
Asked about Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) with the US, Parrikar said “it is already there.
Expansion of that is expected”.
Refusing to get into specific projects, Parrikar said discussions are in final stages.
“At this moment, nothing can be confirmed. Let the finality come. In the next two-three days, the teams will finalise. It would then be approved by the Prime Minister,” he said.
Replying to a query on what India expects from the US in defence field, Parrikar said that if the country establishes good relations with “bigger friends”, a lot of problems would be resolved automatically.
Parikar had last week said India and the US are likely to sign their new 10-year defence framework agreement when Obama comes calling.
He had said technology transfer initiatives and trade can be important areas of the new framework.
Parrikar had pointed out that the focus would not be on procurement but on joint development of technology and technology transfer.
During Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US last September, both countries had agreed in principle to extend their defence agreement for another 10 years, which will take forward the cooperation between the two in the crucial area.
The framework agreement, which expires this year, was signed in the US in 2005 by the then Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee and his US counterpart in the previous George W. Bush admininstration, Donald Rumsfeld.
The new framework is likely to enhance the bilateral defence partnership by stepping up joint military exercises and through more in-depth intelligence-sharing, maritime security among others.
It will also include a drive against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
But the most-significant aspect would be the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) - aimed at enhancing the ones existing under the Defence Policy Group, which lay out the path for future defence cooperation.
The US is pushing for what it calls “transformative defence technologies” for co-development and co-production with India under DTTI, which could become the hallmark of the Modi government's ‘Make-in-India' initiative.