The UK government is working on a government-to-government framework for defence deals in future given India’s preference for such an arrangement, Brig. Gavin Thompson, U.K. Defence Adviser in India said on Friday.
“We have worked very hard since April last year to get all departments in U.K. to get this mechanism. We are at a point where we can send this proposal to the Indian government,” Brig. Thompson said. The mechanism needs to be agreed to by both sides, he stated.
However, unlike the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route of the U.S. government where the government levies a small service charge, Brig. Thompson said there are no overheads built into the contract.
“It is a lighter model,” he stated, adding U.K. presently does not have such a mechanism.
In the last few years, India has concluded multi-billion dollar deals through the Inter-Governmental route for Rafale jets, S-400 air defence systems and stealth frigates, among others.
During Aero India at Bengaluru last year, U.K. made a pitch to India for collaboration in the areas of aircraft carriers and development of 6th generation fighter aircraft technologies. In this regard, Brig. Thompson said the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers are 30% of the cost of the U.S. carriers, provide 60% of the sortie rate, and require only 25% of the manning compared to US aircraft carriers.
There is also interest in the Indian Navy on the U.K.’s progress in integrated electric-propulsion and have exchanged subject matter experts. Recently, HMS Defender, a Type 45 destroyer, was in Goa and 27 Indian Navy officers went onboard for interactions, the Defence Adviser stated.
There are three Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) between the U.K. and India lined up, said Dominic Beales of Defence and Security Organisation in India. While a Defence Equipment Memorandum (DEM) was signed in April last year renewing an earlier agreement, the Logistics MoU has been discussed with Indian officials and “is about to formally enter the Indian system, and the Training MoU is in progress,” he stated.
“We are looking at collaboration, for co-development and co-IP sharing and exports,” Mr. Beales added.