Washington, Dec 11 (IANS) India and the US have committed to identifying additional projects for possible co-development and co-production of high technology items that meet the transformational intent of their Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).
This was affirmed in a joint statement issued Thursday after bilateral talks between Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and US Defence Secretary Ash Carter at the Pentagon at the conclusion of his first visit to the US as minister.
Asked to name the likely new items for co-development and co-production at a briefing for the Indian media, Parrikar said he would prefer to do it first and then talk about it.
In their third meeting, Parrikar and Carter discussed the India-US Defence relationship and broader India-US strategic partnership, and focused on ways to maintain the strong momentum of security and Defence engagement, the statement said.
These included means to further move the DTTI forward. Carter and Parrikar expressed satisfaction with DTTI progress to date and commended positive discussions at the Joint Working Group on Aircraft Carrier Technology Cooperation (JWGACTC).
Especially commending progress in the area of Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (ALRE), the joint statement said they looked forward to continued progress to be achieved at the second meeting of the JWGACTC in Feb 2016 in India.
They further expressed satisfaction that the Jet Engine Technology Joint Working Group (JETJWG), which met this week in Bengaluru, had concluded its Terms of Reference and had productive discussion on cooperation in this area.
Carter, the statement said, informed Parrikar that in light of the strengthening relationship between the US and India, the US Defence Department has updated its policy on gas turbine engine technology transfer to India.
As a result of this policy update, Carter expressed confidence that the US will be able to expand cooperation in production and design of jet engine components.
Carter and Parrikar look forward to US companies working with their Indian counterparts to submit transfer requests that will benefit from this updated policy, the statement said
Parrikar informed Carter about the Make-in-India initiative, under which several reforms have been taken in the Indian Defence sector.
Carter welcomed Indian initiatives in this regard and hoped that this would pave the way for even greater participation of US companies in the Defence sector, the statement said.
Carter and Parrikar also discussed ways to implement the defence-related aspects of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama’s Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region, it said.
During his four day visit, Parrikar visited multiple US facilities including US Pacific Command (PACOM) and together with Carter observed flight operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Parrikar participated as a guest of honour in a Pearl Harbour commemorative ceremony at PACOM. He also met with Admiral Harry Harris, the PACOM Commander and visited various facilities in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Carter, the statement said welcomed India’s participation in the Rim-of-the-Pacific (RIMPAC) multilateral naval exercise in 2016 as well as participation by the Indian Air Force in the multilateral Red Flag exercise in April-May 2016, and expressed support for greater Air-to-Air interaction in the future.
Parrikar welcomed announcement of US participation in the International Fleet Review of the Indian Navy at Visakhapatnam in February 2016.
Carter and Parrikar expressed satisfaction at the level of maritime cooperation between the two navies and resolved to further expand the same in coming years.
They announced their intention to soon complete a memorandum of understanding between their navies on “white shipping” information sharing. They also welcomed the renewal of the Fuel Exchange Agreement.
Parrikar and Carter commended the progress achieved last month at the Defence Policy Group (DPG), including the re-establishment of a working group on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) cooperation under the Military Cooperation Group and focused discussions on Defence capability development.
The official visit underlined the strategic importance of the defence relationship and the personal priority that Parrikar and Carter place on the bilateral partnership, the statement added.
Parrikar also met with senior National Security Council officials and members of Congress.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)