Expansion of India-US defence ties expected

Expansion of India-US defence ties expected

59New Delhi, Jan 21 (IANS) The visit of US President Barack Obama is expected to strengthen defence relations between India and the US and details of agreements likely to be signed will be finalised in the next 2-3 days.

Asked about what was expected on the defence front during Obama’s visit, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said expansion in the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) with the US was on the cards.

“It (DTTI) is already there… further expansion of that is expected,” Parrikar said in response to a question.

The DTTI involves defence co-production deals.

“All aspects are being looked looked into. Nothing can be confirmed at this stage… In the next 2-3 days, it will be finalised and then the prime minister (Narendra Modi) will approve it,” Parrikar told reporters.

Asked what India expects out of the visit, Parrikar said: “Having good relations with powerful friends solves a lot of problems.”

As part of the DTTI, co-production and co-development of two critical defence systems — drones and equipment for the C-130 transport military aircraft built by Lockheed Martin — are reported to be on the table.

According to sources, Obama and Modi are also likely to discuss the US troop withdrawal in Afghanistan and its implications for India’s security, tensions on the India-Pakistan border and cross-border terrorism.

During Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the US in September last year, both countries had agreed in principle to extend their defence agreement for another 10 years.

The framework is likely to enhance the bilateral defence partnership by stepping up joint military exercises and more in-depth intelligence-sharing and maritime security among others.

It will also include a drive against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.



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