US, India to boost defence cooperation with projects

India and US moving ahead towards greater security cooperation through joint military projects as US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter visits New Delhi to hold talks with Indian defence authorities

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The United States and India have agreed to further enhance cooperation on defence and security partnership when Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar held talks in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Defence officials from both countries said on Wednesday that the sealed agreement that is worth of 1 billion dollars, will enable to jointly develop protective gear for soldiers against biological and chemical warfare, and another on building generators.

The US and India have recently been trying to dulcify their rocky relations, which were directly inherited from the Cold War era of ideological hostility, since China has risen as an economic and military giant in Asia.

Carter’s India visit just came after the US-China relations distressed due to the increasing tension in the South China Sea in the Asia-Pacific where India has been emerging as a balancing actor against China.

The US Defense Secretary emphasised the structural differences and ideological legacy which constituted an obstacle in front of diplomatic relations and technical facilities.

"There is a legacy and historical burden of bureaucracy in both countries, and it's a constant exercise in stripping that away," Carter told reporters travelling with him to India.

"It's the burden that we carry forward from the fact that we were two separated industrial systems for so long during the Cold War. It just takes time to get the two of them together," he added.

The US was seeking to augment its arms sales to India which is one of largest buyers of foreign military equipments in parallel with its robust economic rise in the recent decade.

"We have big ambitions, and jet engines, aircraft carrier technology are big projects that we’re working very hard on," Carter told reporters.

The parties signed a 10-year defence cooperation pact in a joint statement as they also pledged to increase maritime security in South Asia.

The newly sealed defence cooperation pact will enable the parties to launch joint naval exercises annually in the Indian Ocean in the wake of China’s territorial claims and military presence in the region.

India has recently launched an ambitious military modernisation programme that is worth of 100 billion dollars as the Asian giant felt itself in a security dilemma due to the ongoing armament race with its regional rivals China and Pakistan.  

Major arms producers are wooing the country as it replaces its obsolete Soviet-era weapons by purchasing new equipments.

However, India’s nationalist Premier Narendra Modi desires to end his country’s security dependency on the foreign military equipments as the country was once known as the world's number one defence importer.

After Modi's ambitious "Make-in-India" programme was launched last year onwards, the country gradually became to be able to produce almost 70 percent of its hardware manufactured domestically by the turn of the decade.

Modi seemed very eager to work with the US after he took office last year in order to get US military support and economic investment as part of his efforts to make India a world power.

The US and India had agreed earlier this year to maintain a greater defence cooperation and security partnership in Asia when US President Barack Obama and Indian PM Modi announced the agreement to pursue four projects under the Defence technology and Trade Initiative.


TRTWorld and agencies