Obama visit to launch new Indo-U.S. defence agenda

Ray

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Obama visit to launch new Indo-U.S. defence agenda


The signing of the framework will be a significant symbol of growing Indo-U.S. defence ties. In picture, President Barack Obama is seen with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington.

Announcement of projects under the 'Defence Trade and Technological Initiative' likely.

A new 10-year defence framework with the United States is likely be finalised in time for President Barack Obama's visit to India. This will be the highlight of the bilateral negotiations when he arrives in New Delhi next month.

The new framework will replace the existing agreement of June 2005. Officials on both sides have confirmed to The Hindu that the agreement is "all but done" and awaits a final clearance.

The new defence framework will outline a series of exchanges between Indian and U.S. officials, including regular meetings between service and non-service defence personnel, the updated 'Defence Trade and Technological Initiative,' upgraded military and naval exercises, as well as 'knowledge partnerships' between the National Defence universities in both countries.

The signing of the framework, along with the visit of the first U.S. President to be chief guest at India's Republic Day ceremony, will be a significant symbol of growing Indo-U.S. defence ties.



Pentagon teams, including State Department officials dealing with the defence relationship, have been visiting New Delhi for the past few weeks. On Saturday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal will join other officials for the "India-U.S.-Japan" trilateral talks as part of the "Asia dialogue" that has been going on all week.

Sources said Australia has formally requested a "quadrilateral dialogue" and also wants to join the Indo-U.S. 'Malabar' naval exercises annually, along with Japan. The request was reportedly made during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit in November and the issue may raise "tripwires over the China factor", according to some officials.

According to sources, U.S. and Indian officials are also discussing the announcement of one or two projects under the 'Defence Trade and Technological Initiative' (DTTI), which they hope to pitch as a part of the government's "make in India" initiative.

While officials wouldn't confirm which projects will be picked, they pointed to aircraft components and helicopter parts jointly produced by U.S. companies like Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky and the Tatas as the way forward.

An earlier U.S. proposal to produce Javelin anti-tank missiles in India had failed as India chose the Israeli "Spike" missiles instead. However, U.S. interlocutors have pointed to the proposal as an example of how America is now offering India "exclusive" deals they haven't offered other countries.

"We want to move beyond a buyer-seller relationship, towards one of co-development and co-production, where both our nations will benefit," said Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Puneet Talwar, who visited Delhi earlier this month to take the negotiations forward.
Obama visit to launch new Indo-U.S. defence agenda - The Hindu
This 'Make in India' initiative will give a boost to Indian Defence industry in the same way as Russian cryogenic engines and sharing of technical knowledge boosted Indian Space Technology.

The Initiative will fast track the modernisation of the defence forces that had gone into a 10 year doldrums like impotency under the UPA regime
 

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India to be third-biggest defence spender by 2020
To be next only to the US and China in amount spent on defence-related expenditure


By the year 2020, India could emerge as the third-biggest country in terms of defence-related expenditure, US-based consulting firm IHS projected in a study published on Friday.

India, home to the world's second-largest population, currently stands eighth in total spending on defence (expenditure, procurement, research and development). The country in 2014 spent $47.78 billion (Rs 3,01,299 crore), higher than those like Germany, Brazil, south Korea, Italy, Canada, according to the IHS study, where the NYSE-listed research firm analysed specific forecasts for defence-related expenditure by 91 countries and captured 98 per cent of the global defence spend.

The US, which currently is the biggest spender on defence — it spent $586.92 billion in 2014 — is followed by China ($176.25 billion) as a distant second. The UK, Japan, the Russian federation, France and Saudi Arabia also spent more than India during the year, the IHS study revealed.

However, the study points out, though the US will continue to be on top in defence expenditure by 2020 as well, the combined spend by the Asia-Pacific, too, will have risen significantly by then. The region currently spends $170 billion less on defene than the US; by 2020, it will spend exceed the US on this. "Spending in Asia-Pacific, meanwhile, is expected to grow to $547.1 billion by 2020, over 30 per cent of the global total," said Craig Caffrey, senior defence budgets analyst at IHS Aerospace & Defence.

The study also forecast defence spend to flat-line over the next two years, as fiscal constraints among oil-producing states in West Asia and North Africa removed a key source of growth.

"By 2019, for the first time in history, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) will not account for a majority of worldwide defence expenditure. It accounted for almost two-thirds of global spending as recently as 2010," said IHS. Nato expenditure was expected to fall in real terms from $869.6 billion in 2014 to $837.9 billion by 2020. By the end of the decade, defence spending would decline from 54.4 per cent of total expenditure to 48.5 per cent, it added.

"By 2019, the alliance (Nato) will fail to account for the majority of worldwide defence expenditure... By 2020, the centre of gravity of the global defence spending landscape is expected to have continued its gradual shift away from the developed economies of Western Europe and North America and towards emerging markets, particularly in Asia," said Fenella McGerty, senior defence budget analyst at IHS Aerospace & Defence.

Despite the region not being immune to the present challenges in the global economy, Asia's defence expenditure growth is expected to accelerate from 3.3 per cent in 2014 to 4.8 per cent next year. Unlike in West Asia and North Africa, falling oil prices were expected to have a net positive effect on economic growth in China, India and Indonesia, and would aid government finances, the study said.

India to be third-biggest defence spender by 2020 | Business Standard News
What most do not realise or deliberately sensationalise is India's defence spending.

The defence spending is not just for a lark. It is based on the active threat that the country is embroiled in and the requirement of hardware to protect itself in this 'active and hostile environment'.

Hence, it has to be more than countries like Germany, Canada and the like which are not operating in 'active and hostile' environments, There lies the nub and the rub.
 
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