New Delhi: Focusing for a transformative defence partnership, India and the US on Sunday agreed to extend the Defence Cooperation Agreement and identified four projects under the Defence Technology Trade Initiative (DTTI) for joint production and development and exploring cooperation for jet engines and aircraft carrier systems.
Both nations agreed to step up joint combat exercises, maritime security endeavors, intelligence-sharing mechanisms, military exchanges and the like through the framework, which has the key new element of Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) to bolster India's fledgling defence-industrial base.
“Today, we have also decided to take our growing defence cooperation to a new level. We have agreed, in principle, to pursue co-development and co-production of specific advanced defence projects,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said after holding extensive talks with visiting U.S. President Barack Obama.
Modi said this would help upgrade the country's domestic defence industry and expand the manufacturing sector in India. Obama said the agreement would guide the bilateral defence cooperation for the next 10 years.
The projects identified under the DTTI include next-generation Raven mini-unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), roll-on, roll-off intelligence kits for C-130 transport aircraft and mobile electric hybrid power source.
Both Obama and Modi promised the DTTI would take the bilateral defence cooperation to a new level altogether with "additional joint projects in the near future". Towards this end, the decision to set up working groups to explore development of aircraft carrier technologies and jet engines is crucial.
Indian Ambassador to the U.S. S. Jaishankar said these four projects were “pathfinder” schemes as they would determine how to go forward in defence co-development. Of these, two projects were with U.S. companies, while two were with the U.S. government.
In their joint statement, Modi and Obama acknowledged bilateral military ties as the foundation of the defence ties and encouraged their respective militaries to pursue additional opportunities for engagement through exercises, military personnel exchanges, and defence dialogues.
Both leaders agreed to increase bilateral anti-terror cooperation, intelligence sharing and maritime security. Echoing Modi, Obama said the two countries have agreed to deepen their defence and security cooperation.