New Delhi: In his speech to the Confederation of Indian Industry today, US Deputy Secretary of Defence Ashton B Carter described his work with Indian leaders to outline a joint vision for greater US-India defence cooperation. He was speaking at the US-India Defence Cooperation: The Way Forward, An Interactive Session with Dr Ashton B Carter, organised by CII, here today. Echoing previous statements by US President Barack H Obama and US Secretary of Defence Leon E Panetta, Deputy Secretary Carter stated that defence cooperation between the two countries is central to the partnership.
He discussed the great progress in U.S.-India defence ties in recent years, and described practical measures that both countries can take to make U.S.-India defence cooperation more simple, more responsive, and more effective.
“We want to get to a place where we continuously discover new opportunities to make innovative investments that benefit both countries for generations." Deputy Secretary Carter said. “The only limit to our cooperation should be our independent strategic decisions not bureaucratic red tape. Ours will be a unique relationship, based on trust, sharing, and reliability.”
Following Secretary Panetta’s visit to India in June, Deputy Secretary Carter is leading a Defence Department delegation to India to further strengthen U.S.-India defence trade and cooperation. Other delegates on the trip include Mr. Mark W. Lippert, Assistant Secretary of Defence for Asia-Pacific Security Affairs; Vice Admiral William E. Landay, Director, Defence Security Cooperation Agency; and Mr. Zachary J. Lemnios, Assistant Secretary of Defence for Research and Engineering. Deputy Secretary Carter is in India as a part of a ten day trip across the Asia-Pacific, with stops in Hawaii, Guam, Japan, Thailand, and South Korea."
Dr V Sumantran, Chairman CII National Defence Council & Vice Chairman, Ashok Leyland said that US should accord a special status to India as far as defence trade is concerned. A lot has been flowing into India from the US. However we would like defence systems, equipments and weapons to flow in both the directions. This can be achieved by roping in the private sector companies.
Indian defence industry is also changing gears and set to grow fast. We would request our American counterparts to use this point of inflection and set up their manufacturing bases in India. We can also have joint R&D centres here in India. If we can have co-development and co-manufacturing with Russia, why should we shy away from having similar arrangements with the US. Together we should promote India as a global defence manufacturing hub. The idea is to create a win-win situation for both Indian and American companies.
Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General said that “The efforts being put in by the governments from both sides towards resolving the issues affecting Defence cooperation is very encouraging. The recent visit of US defence secretary Leon Panetta to New Delhi signifies the interest and intent of cooperation.”
India’s requirements of defence weapons and equipment are huge. Lately, India has been making an effort to diversify the product profile and sourcing of weapon systems. It is estimated that India would be procuring defence equipment worth close to USD 80-100 billion in the next 5 years. The huge market has the potential to attract the US defence industry and thus offers a great opportunity for building long term relations in the defence industry.
He further elaborated that India will no longer be satisfied with buyer-seller and patron-client arrangements. It is expected that the future defence acquisitions will emphasise on transfer of technology as well as joint research and development of weapons systems. We understand that the US has begun to look towards India beyond just sales of defence equipment.