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New Act in U.S. Congress will institutionalise India-specific defence ties: Pentagon official

The India Rapid Reaction Cell was the initiative of U.S. Defence Secretary Ash Carter, who was also the key architect of the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative that was launched in 2012 to deepen high technology cooperation and move towards co-development and co-production of high technology platforms.

The India Rapid Reaction Cell was the initiative of U.S. Defence Secretary Ash Carter, who was also the key architect of the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative that was launched in 2012 to deepen high technology cooperation and move towards co-development and co-production of high technology platforms.  

India Rapid Reaction Cell is specifically mentioned in the U.S.-India Defence Technology and Partnership Act: Duncan M. Lang

The U.S.-India Defence Technology and Partnership Act, which was introduced in the U.S. Congress couple of weeks back, would “institutionalise” the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) framework between the two countries and the India-specific cell in the Pentagon, a senior U.S. defence official said.

The resolution was introduced by Congressman George Holding, Co-Chair of the House Caucus intended to amend the U.S. Arms Export Control Action in order to formalise India’s status for the purpose of congressional notifications as a major partner of equal status as America’s treaty allies and closest partners.

USIBC had major role pushing it

The U.S.-India Business Council had played a major role in pushing the resolution forward.

“It will institutionalise what we are doing with DTTI and the India Rapid Reaction Cell (IRRC). In fact, IRRC is specifically mentioned in this Act,” Duncan M. Lang, who heads the India Rapid Reaction Cell (IRRC) in the Pentagon, told The Hindu in an exclusive interview in the U.S. capital.

He noted that it had not been passed yet but there was a lot of support for that. “India is a bipartisan thing,” Mr. Lang observed.

Only country-specific cell

The IRRC is the only country-specific cell in the Pentagon and functions under the office of the Under Secretary of Defence Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

It was set up in January 2015 and includes six people in the team -- which officials said was indicative of the importance attached to deepening strategic cooperation with India.

The IRRC was the initiative of U.S. Defence Secretary Ash Carter who was also the key architect of the DTTI, launched in 2012 to deepen high technology cooperation and move towards co-development and co-production of high technology platforms.

‘It will be a permanent process’

Mr. Lang explained that the cell being the initiative of one Secretary the Act would make it a permanent process. “We are going to be changing governments soon. So whatever happens, the progress we made here should go on.”

Speaking on the progress of the projects under DTTI, Mr. Lang said a Project agreement had been signed in August last year for two of the four pathfinder projects -- mobile electric hybrid power sources and uniform integrated protection ensemble (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical protection suits for soldiers).

“They are very typical type of research projects… They are in the execution phase, they are examining the options. What will come out of it is not clear. That is what they are trying to figure out -- the solutions for the problem they have.”

The agreement covers the first two years of work and details the work share and the funding pattern.

List of 17 projects

To further advance cooperation under the DTTI, both sides have compiled a list of 17 projects which is now in the process of being narrowed down and finalised. He is scheduled to visit India to hold discussions on this as well as on the jet engine cooperation for India’s Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) which is currently under development.

He said that the new category model of joint development with government funding proposed under the new India Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) would give opportunities for joint collaboration.

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Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 10:43:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/new-act-in-us-congress-will-institutionalise-indiaspecific-defence-ties/article8429529.ece

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