UK’s keen interest in Make in India flagship programme in defence sector
New Delhi : As the Modi government continues to accord high priority to its “Make in India” flagship programme, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley today welcomed the U.K.’s interest in manufacturing in India as evidenced by recent MoUs between companies of the two countries.
In a joint statement issued during the ongoing visit of the U.K.’s Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon, both the ministers acknowledged the progress being made in defence manufacturing and recognised the potential for further cooperation in the sector under the “Make in India’’ framework. The U.K. minister is on a four-day visit to India beginning April 11. The two ministers also held delegation level talks today
While lauding defence cooperation between the two countries, Mr. Jaitley cited examples of recent announcements including the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Bharat Dynamics Ltd. and Thales UK on technology transfer opportunities for missile systems and efforts to develop an Advanced Hawk jet trainer jointly by the BAE Systems and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
To further facilitate cooperation between the UK and Indian companies, the two Ministers agreed to extend the current Defence Equipment Cooperation MoU and work towards early completion of an expanded MoU, that will provide a platform for the UK and Indian industries to collaborate on and support transfer of technology on projects in areas of mutual interest.
The two Ministers welcomed measures to ensure life cycle support and sustenance of UK-origin defence platforms used by India, which may include setting up joint ventures and other collaborative arrangements.
The UK and India will encourage interactions between the Indian Army Design Bureau and Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S)/Army Capability Branch through their Defence Equipment Sub-Group, according to the joint statement.
The UK and India will explore establishing a secure communications method in order to share classified material.
The U.K. Defence Secretary’s visit reaffirmed and consolidated UK-India defence cooperation in the framework of the Defence and International Security Partnership, agreed in November 2015, and the subsequent joint statement between the two governments a year later.
“This enduring defence partnership will encompass not only cooperation in defence industry but also stronger military to military engagement, including training and advanced joint exercises,’’ the joint statement said.
The renewed engagement will place capability and technology development at its core and seek to harness the complementary strengths of both nations in defence manufacturing and use the combined strengths of their respective private and public sectors to develop defence solutions for use in both home and shared export markets.
The two Defence Ministers will also continue to consult and co-ordinate policies across a range of global security challenges, especially those intended to eliminate the scourge of international terrorism, in pursuit of their shared goal of a more secure world.
Based on the Defence and International Security Partnership (DISP) and building on existing Defence Consultative Group (DCG) mechanisms, both sides will explore additional areas for institutional engagement.
The Ministers agreed to further strengthen their naval and maritime interactions, including enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) through the bilateral technical agreement to exchange information to track terrorist and pirate vessels, a key deliverable of the DISP. The two Ministers also agreed to further develop cooperation between the UK Hydrographic Office and the Indian Navy Hydrographic Office.
India and the UK will endeavour to build a range of Capability Partnerships focussing on varied aspects of military effectiveness such as specialised training interactions and exchange of best practices areas like Counter Terrorism (CT), Counter Improvised Explosive Devices (CIED), Air Force Training, Air Total Safety, Aircraft Carriers, Maritime Safety, Shipbuilding and UN Peacekeeping. Efforts are already underway with exchanges of subject matter experts to discuss air safety collaboration and future CT requirements.