India, US Could Soon Sign An Air Information Sharing Agreement, Produce Jet Engines In India, Says US Official
India and the United States of America (USA) are finalising an “air information sharing agreement”, said the visiting US Secretary of Air Force, Frank Kendall on Tuesday (21 March).
Kendall, who met the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane among others, said he “hoped to have additional pacts like the air information sharing agreement in place soon,” to allow the two countries to work even more closely.
“India is a major and valuable defence partner. We share values and are expanding our relationship,” he said.
Notably, recent reports have suggested that USA shared information with India about the movements of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in Tawang last year, “in an unprecedented manner”.
India-US Deepening Defence Partnership
Defence cooperation between India and USA has increased significantly in the last two decades, as the two countries move closer to each other to counter the rise of a belligerent China.
India has already signed four “foundational” information sharing agreements with the USA, namely the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geospatial Cooperation (BECA) in 2020, the Communications, Capability and Security Arrangement (COMCASA) in 2018, the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016, and the General Security of Millitary Information Agreement (GSOMIA) in 2002.
India and USA are also cooperating under bilateral initiatives like the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTII), 2012 and the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET), 2021.
While the DTII focuses on the co-development and co-production of high-tech weapons systems, the iCET is a broader initiative, involving everything from semiconductors and advanced telecom to artificial intelligence and its applications in warfare.
Kendall’s visit is significant as it comes only two months after the inaugural meeting of the iCET in Washington in January, led by the National Security Advisors of the two countries.
Kendall also mentioned that the two countries were close to signing an agreement for the transfer of jet engine technology which will help India manufacture jet engines indigenously.
However, Kendall also said that the Indian insistence on having a large share of products manufactured in India should be done in stages, rather than having it all in one go.
The two initiatives and further defence cooperation between the two countries would also require the USA to significantly lift sanctions on India under the US Munitions List and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.
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