Obama signs into law bill declaring India a ‘major defence partner’

Feb 16, 2009
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  • Obama signs into law bill declaring India a ‘major defence partner’
    india Updated: Dec 25, 2016 00:03 IST

    Yashwant Raj, Washington

    US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi after their remarks to reporters following a meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington (Reuters file photo)
    • President Barack Obama on Friday signed a legislation that approves $619 billion budget for US military in 2017 and codifies India as a “Major Defence Partner”, a distinctly unique definition the US doesn’t use for any other country.

      The India section of the voluminous Act, the details of which have been widely reported as it travelled around the legislature getting procedural approvals, essentially institutionalises and commits future government to that definition, unless recalled.

      The Obama administration declared India a “major defence partner” — borrowing it from a legislation moved by Congressman George Holding, a co-chair of the House India caucus — during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s June visit.

      The legislation has been called both “symbolic, expressing a sense of where congress stands on ties with India”, as an expert has said, to not doing enough, and failing to upgrade ties to a higher level, say, to match the one US has with Israel.

      India has welcomed it, with sources saying, it “locks in” all future administration to the definition, and have said the closer ties that some people have advocated could have been counterproductive, and not in India’s interest.

      Benjamin Schwartz, who headed the India desk at the Pentagon till a year ago, wrote in a recent piece about the legislation that the intent was to bolster India as “predominant security provider in the Indian Ocean Region” to offset China’s military superiority.

      Shwartz, who is now with the US-India Business Council, argued that “the growing gap between Chinese military power and that of its neighbours increases the risk of instability in Asia. This gap is provocative and dangerously so in a region that contains the world’s most important trade corridors”.

      The India section, which is titled Enhancing Defence and Security Cooperation with India, and directs the administration to appoint an official to directly oversee the relationship, identify impediments and resolve them.

      Specially, those issues that are impeding “United States-India defence trade, security cooperation, and co-production and co-development opportunities”.

      The first report under this law will come in around June from the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump, who has said, at an election rally in November, India and the US will be “best friends” on his watch.


Chodi Bhakt & BJPig Hunter
Senior Member
Oct 13, 2015
Good. Hopefully this "unique status" materialize further such as critical technology transfer and Make in India.

It will serve our purpose to get ourselves rid from Russian blackmail for buying their Junk and encourage to our local defense industry.

Cutting Edge

Regular Member
Dec 22, 2016
US offers big-ticket military tie-ups with India
Rajat Pandit| TNN | Updated: Dec 31, 2016, 10.44 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The US has now proposed joint development and production of futuristic military helicopters as well as infantry combat vehicles in the first such big-ticket programmes under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative+ (DTTI) with India.

Top government sources said the two projects would be discussed threadbare in the ensuing DTTI meeting (probably February) after the Donald Trump administration takes over in the US on January 20. India has already shown interest in the US offer for participation+ in its "future vertical-lift (FVL) aircraft" programme, which includes development of five different helicopters or "capability sets" over the next 15 years at a cost of around $8 billion, said the sources.

The US has also suggested that the future infantry combat vehicle (FICV) project can be a trilateral venture with the inclusion of Israel. India is in a wait-and-watch mode about this proposal since it's trying to finalise its own Rs 60,000-crore FICV project+ , with two private sector players and the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) in the reckoning for prototype development, as was earlier reported by TOI .

The earlier projects offered by the US under the DTTI were quite modest in nature despite India looking for "unique and transformative military technologies" to give its armed forces a decisive edge over its rivals. With the US now officially designatingIndia as a "major defence partner"+ at par with its closest allies to facilitate the transfer of advanced technology, the two new projects are quite ambitious in scope.

But India is unlikely to go in for all the five types of helicopters, which range from light-weight to heavy-lift ones. India and Russia, for instance, have already finalised the production of 200 Kamov-226T light-utility helicopters worth $1 billion, while Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. is also independently tasked to develop 187 similar choppers.

India has also inked $3.1 billion deal for 22 Apache attack and 15 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters from the US, which are slated for delivery in 2019-2020. Nevertheless, the Indian armed forces are in the hunt for 1,200 helicopters of different types over the next 15-20 years to replace their ageing fleets at an estimated cost of over Rs 1.5 lakh crore.

"We can choose the kind of helicopters that suit our interests. Moreover, one to two products are also being identified under each of the seven joint working groups under the DTTI," said a source. Of the first four "pathfinder projects", India has finalised two —mobile generators and nextgen protective ensemble — worth $2 million.



Senior Member
Oct 24, 2014
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India can benefit a lot from close ties and mutually beneficial arrangements with the US and Japan. Both these countries are rich economies and have a very advanced hi-tech industry.

I hope to see India growing into a prosperous knowledge economy just like South Korea did.

The emerging situation will have disruptive effect over the existing "Weapons Lobby" in the power corridors of India which works for the interests of Russia.

However citizens must be vigilant, "Make in India" must not be diluted under any circumstance. If BJP looses in 2019 then the next government will certainly work against it.

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