India and the United States are closing in on an industrial security agreement that will allow the transfer of defense technology and billions of dollars’ worth of investments in India’s military.
India has bought weapons worth more than U.S. $15 billion from the United States over the past decade. India is replacing its Russian-origin military and is in talks for helicopters, armed drones and a bigger Indian plan for local production of combat planes. To allow for transfer of technology for building combat jets locally and other joint ventures, the United States had sought guarantees for the protection of classified information and technology.
It would be the first time New Delhi has entered into such a pact with any country, although the United States has agreements in place with several countries. U.S. companies Lockheed Martin and Boeing are in the race for a deal estimated at over U.S. $15 billion to supply the Indian Air Force with 114 fighter planes to replace its aging fleet of MiG 21 jets. The planes have to be built in the country as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make-in-India drive to cut expensive imports and build a domestic industry. (Pictured: A U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter taxis on the tarmac during the Aero India air show in Bangalore, India.)
After years of hesitation, India signed an agreement in 2016 to allow both countries to access each other’s military bases and a second one in 2018 on secure military communications. A third accord on sharing geospatial information is still in the early stages. These are all foundational agreements designed for closer military cooperation and enhanced information sharing. Reuters