July 27, 2012

Defence deals: US offers to match India’s ally Russia

(The Tribune) : The US today virtually offered to match India’s 50-year-old ally Russia in matters of multi-billion dollar defence deals. It has offered high-end technology, latest equipment and even a promise to change its stringent technology-transfer rules to accommodate New Delhi’s growing ambitions.
The corner stone is India’s surging defence equipment demand that will induce a spending of around $80 billion over the next 6-7 years.
Deputy Secretary of Defense, USA, Ashton B Carter laid out a plan as he spoke on “Joint Vision for US-India Defense Cooperation” at a function organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) this afternoon. In the morning, he had called on Defence Minister AK Antony and top-brass of the Defence Ministry.
“We want to knock down any remaining bureaucratic barriers in our defence relationship, and strip away the impediments. We want to set big goals to achieve,” Carter said while addressing Indian audience comprising strategic thinkers and industry representatives.
“India deserves the best military equipment available and we are prepared to help. Practically, we want to be India’s highest-quality and most-trusted long-term supplier of technology,” Carter said without naming Russia, which is dominant in military equipment sales to India. Over the past few years, Russia has leased a nuclear-powered submarine to India; sold a sea-borne aircraft carrier; co-developed a supersonic missile and is now co-developing a new fighter jet and a transport aircraft.
“We are looking at cooperating and not trade. It is not a buyer-seller relationship… India is top priority in our export considerations. New efforts will help us respond more rapidly to India’s requests for US equipment and systems - particularly for more advanced technologies,” Carter said. “We are improving our government’s overall export-control system”, India can make some changes too by raising its FDI ceiling from the present 26 per cent to 49 per cent.
Knowing that India and the US may not see eye-to-eye on many issues, Carter said, “We have long-term interests, if not always common approaches, like Syria and Iran” and went on to suggest “a joint vision for the US-India defence cooperation”.
Carter also clarified on the rebalance the US just announced. It plans to shift its forces eastwards towards the Asia-Pacific region. Both, India and China have not taken kindly to the announcement. He said, “Rebalance is not about China or the United States or India or any other single country or group of countries.”
on offer
  • High-end technology
  • Latest equipment
  • A promise to change US technology-transfer rules


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