India, US conclude defence industry exchange deal to boost trade

File Photo: US defense secretary Mark T. Esper and India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh.

Washington (DC): India and US today concluded a key agreement that will help smooth transfer of classified military technologies and information between private companies of both nations to enable growth in their bilateral defence trade that has grown to nearly $17 billion already in the last 12 years.

Ahead of the bilateral 2+2 meeting involving Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh and Minister of External Affairs Dr S. Jaishankar from the Indian side and US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper from the US side, the two nations signed the ‘Industrial Security Annex‘.

“I’m happy that we have been able to sign the Industrial Security Annex before the 2+2 Dialogue. We hope that this will enable smooth transfer of classified technology and information between private entities of USA and India,” Rajnath Singh said at a press interaction after the bilateral dialogue.

The 2+2 Ministerial is the highest-level institutional mechanism between the two countries and provides for a review of security, defence and strategic partnership between India and the United States. This was the second 2+2 meeting and the first in US.

“Meanwhile, our defense, trade, and technology ties continue to grow. Today, we are proud to conclude the Industrial Security Annex, which will facilitate collaboration between our defense industries by supporting the secure transfer of key information and technology,” Esper said in his remarks at the press availability.

“We also finalized three agreements under the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), which will enhance our ability to co-produce and co-develop critical technologies,” the US defense secretary said.

The two sides also concluded a standard operating procedure for the DTTI process, the Indian Ministry of Defence said in a separate statement.

“These measures are expected to provide momentum to collaboration between the private defence industries of both India and the US.”

The two sides also agreed to move forward in their engagement in the area of defence innovation, it said.

American firms Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corporation. are keenly participating in a nearly $15-billion Indian Air Force programme to buy 114 combat jets, of which 85 per cent would be produced by an Indian company domestically through a technology transfer.

Earlier, Rajnath Singh arrived at the Pentagon for a bilateral with Esper on further strengthening India-US defence partnership, while Jaishankar held bilateral talks with Pompeo.

After the 2+2 meeting, Rajanth Singh, along with Jaishankar, called on President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, at the Oval Office. They were accompanied by US National Security Adviser Ambassador Robert O’Brian.

NOTE: For more details of the 2+2 dialogue, please go to press interaction transcripts here and here, joint statements here and here, for India’s Jaishankar’s remarks here, for US official’s briefing transcript here and for the highlights of the meeting as given out by the US State department here.

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