India, US discuss bilateral defence ties

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A man holds the flags of India and the U.S. while people take part in the 35th India Day Parade in New York August 16, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/Files

NEW DELHI – Indian and American defense officials on Wednesday discussed how to strengthen defense trade ties and create opportunities for co-production and co-development of military equipment even as the two countries are locked in a row over the US sanctions against Russia that have affected defense deals between New Delhi and Moscow.

The 7th Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) meeting which forms a part of Indo-US Bilateral Defense Cooperation was co-chaired by Secretary (Defense Production) Ajay Kumar and US Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen M. Lord.

The DTTI meetings are held twice a year, alternately in India and the US with the aim of bringing sustained leadership focus on the bilateral defense trade relationship.

According to an official statement, Ajay Kumar told the meeting that the Indian government had taken a number of steps to give an impetus to Indian defense industry and its flagship ‘Make in India’ initiative.

Given the large defense outlay planned for India’s defense requirements in the future, he said, the contribution of the industry, in partnership with foreign original equipment manufacturers to begin with, is expected to be significant.

“This will also contribute to overall growth of the economy and also have several opportunity benefits and downstream effects,” he said.

Ellen Lord said the India-US defense cooperation was one of the core pillars of the defense relationship between the two countries.

She said the US had designated India as a ‘Major Defense Partner’ and expected the defense relationship between the two countries to be further strengthened.

She also stated that DTTI is an important forum leading to the 2+2 dialogue that is expected to be held on September 6 after it was twice put off in the last one year.

The government has established a number of Joint Working Groups under DTTI to take forward mutually agreed projects for the benefit of the Armed Forces.

Discussions on the formulation of a Standard Operating Procedure and the Industrial Security Annex are proceeding as planned, a Defense Ministry spokesperson said.

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