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U.S. arms technologies come closer

More air power:  Boeing and Lockheed have submitted proposals to build F-18 and F-16 fighter jets. Photo shows an F-16 taking off   during an air show.

More air power: Boeing and Lockheed have submitted proposals to build F-18 and F-16 fighter jets. Photo shows an F-16 taking off during an air show.

With U.S. designating India as a Major Defence Partner (MDP), licensing regulations to acquire sensitive military technologies, such as those that go into the F-16 and F-18 fighter jets, will be simplified.

An official said on Friday that the designation “institutionalises” the cooperation achieved so far between the two countries.

This is a unique designation conferred on India, outside the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) countries and U.S. treaty allies such as Australia and Japan.

Legal framework

Earlier this week, the U.S. Congress passed the National Defence Authorisation Act to enhance defence and security cooperation with India. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and U.S. Defence Secretary Ashton Carter agreed on the provisions of the designation in New Delhi on Thursday. President Barack Obama has to sign the Bill into a law.

This comes at a time when India is considering proposals for a new fighter aircraft to be built under the “Make in India” initiative, in significant numbers, with technology transfer. U.S. aerospace majors Boeing and Lockheed have submitted proposals to build their F-18 and F-16 fighter jets. Saab of Sweden has done so for Gripen.

“The MDP eases [the process of] licensing for military and dual-use items. It streamlines the process and reduces India’s licensing requirements,” another official said.

A senior official of the Pentagon, with experience in defence acquisition and technology, will be designated to expedite matters for India. However, the status will not help circumvent multilateral control regimes.

Officials said the designation was envisaged as a way to bring India on the same level as the U.S. treaty allies, in the absence of a formal treaty between the two countries.

Officials have expressed confidence that the progress achieved under initiatives such as the Defence Technology Trade Initiative (DTTI) and the India Rapid Reaction Cell (IRRC) in the Pentagon would continue in the next U.S. administration as it is now enshrined in the U.S. law. India and the U.S. are expected to announce a major new project under the DTTI. An official said it would be announced by year-end.


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Printable version | Jun 26, 2022 11:09:20 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/U.S.-arms-technologies-come-closer/article16794335.ece