Indian team in U.S. for defence technology talks

Patrolling the seas:A warship in calm waters. India is keen on acquiring sonobuoys and sonars.Prashant Nakwe  

A Defence Ministry delegation is in the U.S. to discuss the entire range of cooperation under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).

Nine working groups have been established under the initiative, which aims to promote co-development and co-production of military technologies for use by both countries. The latest group set up recently is on new naval systems, such as sonars and sonobuoys, which are of interest to India.

A six-member team headed by a Vice-Admiral from the Tri-Services Integrated Defence Staff (IDS), along with Service and Ministry members, has embarked on the three-day visit, a senior defence official said.

“This is a task force meeting and they will comprehensively discuss all issues under the DTTI,” he said.

However, India is still waiting for some clarity on appointments in the Pentagon. While the Indian side of the DTTI is co-chaired by A.K. Gupta, Secretary, Defence Production, the U.S. side is co-chaired by Frank Kendall, Under-Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

However, with the change in the administration, there is no clarity on appointments as yet.

The two Navies had signed the terms of reference at the first meeting of the new Naval Systems Joint Working Group in Washington DC on March 1.

Underwater surveillance

Underwater surveillance systems such as sonars and sonobuoys are of particular interest to India as it is augmenting its capabilities to keep track of the increasing Chinese naval presence in the Indian Ocean.

A senior official observed that some niche technologies with the U.S. can be accessed through the mechanism and various possibilities are being explored.

The naval cooperation is also in U.S. interests and the Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), Admiral Harry Harris, said early this year that “there is sharing of information regarding Chinese maritime movement in the Indian Ocean”.