Manohar Parrikar’s US visit may clear logistics pact, Predator buy

Discussion in 'Indian Navy' started by WolfPack86, Aug 16, 2016.

  1. WolfPack86

    WolfPack86 Senior Member Senior Member

    Oct 20, 2015
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    Defence minister Manohar Parrikar is expected to visit Washington DC at the end of this month. Key topics, including the sale of 'Predator Guardian' for the Indian Navy
    Defence minister Manohar Parrikar is expected to visit Washington DC at the end of this month. Key topics, including the sale of ‘Predator Guardian’ for the Indian Navy and inking of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), will be on the table for discussions.
    Highly-placed sources told FE that during the visit, “various issues will be discussed, including strengthening of operational ties, the recently concluded logistics agreement and follow-up on foundational agreements like CISMOA (Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum Agreement), and BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement), ‘Make in India’ initiatives, and acquisition of key critical technologies”.

    The LEMOA deal that could not be inked during the recent visit of Frank Kendall, the US undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, due to some bureaucratic hurdles on the Indian side, is likely to be inked during Parrikar’s visit to the US on August 28.

    Earlier this year, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the US, the joint statement mentioned an unprecedented development: “Noting that the US-India defence relationship can be an anchor of stability, and given the increasingly strengthened cooperation in defense, the US hereby recognises India as a major defence partner.”

    Bureaucrats on both sides are frantically working to give this substance before the Obama administration exits office in a few months. US secretary of defense Ashton Carter, who had visited India in April, has been a champion of closer ties with India for many years, said sources.

    There have been indications of a new regional cooperation that strengthens the bilateral ties, especially when it comes to maritime domain awareness. Of all the defence initiatives of the Obama-Modi diplomacy, clearly one of the most successful ones has been the stra-tegic partnering in the maritime domain.

    “There is clearly significant common interest between India, Japan and the US to counter the threats in South China Sea and to strengthen the naval presence of these and other countries in the region. The effort is to build an Asia-Pacific vision with countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia and others, to counter the growing Chinese threat in the South China Sea,” an official explained.

    The strong Indian interest in the Predator maritime surveillance unmanned aircraft and the US offer of cooperation in building the second indigenous aircraft carrier to be made in India have been the biggest symbols of India-US maritime cooperation, with the potential of powering strategic ties between the two nations to unprecedented heights.

    Dr Vivek Lall, currently with US-based General Atomics and known among the Asia-Pacific countries and US political establishments as the “most influential Asian-American in the US defence industry”, has
    been key to bringing the bilateral industrial relationship closer, sources said.

    In the past decade, from P8I to Harpoon missiles to C-17 to Apache to Chinook to now an initial requirement of 22 Predators, which between several military services could grow to very significant numbers, Lall has been instrumental in getting breakthroughs for global US companies and the US establishment in the Indian military platforms and equipment market.

    With the US establishment hopeful that an American fighter will be selected, American aerospace major Boeing Company concluded a follow-on order for four more P8I aircraft and sources indicated the overall requirement is much more.

    Both Boeing and Lockheed Martin have put in offers of ‘Make in India’ of their fighter jets with the Department of Defense taking active interest, which is also unprecedented. The inconclusive MMRCA competition seems to have brought all the original competitors back to India’s doorstep this time with ‘Make in India’ propositions.

    During an earlier visit of the US defense secretary to India, when the two countries sealed their renewed, expanded 10-year defence framework that included the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI), Carter stated that no one should be fooled by the small size of the initial “pathfinder” projects.

    “We are working… but we have big ambitions. Jet engines, aircraft carrier technology are big projects that we’re working very hard on. And some of the projects that we’re launching just now are, in part, intended to blaze a trail for things to come. The projects were selected based on feedback from the US and Indian defence industries. The other thing to keep in mind is that the whole point is to make these industrially and economically successful projects.
    So, they’re not things that can be dictated by the governments; we try to involve industry,” Carter had remarked.
    Parrikar and Carter hope to concretise the gains made in cooperation before the next US administration takes office.
    OneGrimPilgrim likes this.

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