India has told the US that its requirements are “unique and transformative” hardware technologies and weapon systems that justify the single-vendor option and could be mass produced here under the new defence FDI rules.
After the defence ministry officials told their Pentagon counterparts last month that India was not interested in the run-of-the-mill technology, the Barack Obama administration is sending Frank Kendall, under-secretary (acquisition) in the defence department, on a three-day trip beginning November 21 to brief New Delhi on the weapon technologies on offer.
Kendall, Pentagon’s pointperson for India’s defence requirements, will meet defence secretary RK Mathur during his stay. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval visited Pentagon on Wednesday to discuss bilateral defence cooperation and exchange of military intelligence.
“We are told that the US defence industry had offered more than 100 technologies but Pentagon reduced the list to a mere 15 items; that too at the lower end of technology spectrum. It is time that the US spelt out details of technology transfer and co-production,” a senior official said.
While India is keen to buy and manufacture mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles for fighting Maoists, South Block has told the US it is interested in force multipliers like sensors, missile seeker or guidance technology that are not available from other countries.
“India has bought $6.5 billion worth of weapons from the US through direct government-to-government sales in the past five years. The defence technology and trade initiative is co-development and co-production of latest tech and not to allow the US firms to sell through a single-vendor route,” said an MoD official.