Article107.pngSending a strong signal of growing closeness and cooperation in their military ties, India and the U.S. have agreed in principle to sign a Logistics Exchange Agreement. They also expressed their desire to explore agreements which would facilitate further expansion of bilateral defence cooperation in practical ways. The visiting U.S. Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar also vowed to enhance military cooperation and technology transfer. The logistics exchange agreement, to be inked in the coming months, pertains to provision of logistical support, refuelling facilities, supplies, repair and rest. The two Defence ministers said the logistics agreement would be useful during operations or humanitarian assistance in times of natural disasters by way of providing support. “”Logistics is very important part of the operation. It will be on case by case basis,”” Mr. Carter said adding that all related issues have been resolved.
Mr Carter added that the new logistics agreement “”reflects the fact that we expect to be working more, our Navies together, our Air Forces together, our Armies together and we want to have the ability to respond together to let’s say a humanitarian disaster… this doesn’t bind anybody to doing anything in particular.”” The two sides also held delegation level meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday and reviewed the important steps taken since the signing of the new Framework for the U.S.-India Defence Relationship last June to deepen bilateral defence ties. According to the joint statement, the two ministers discussed the priorities for the coming year in defence ties, as well as specific steps both sides will take to pursue those priorities. These included expanding collaboration under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI); Make in India efforts of the Indian government; new opportunities to deepen cooperation in maritime security and Maritime Domain Awareness; military-to-military relations; the knowledge partnership in the field of defence; and regional and international security matters of mutual interest.
Mr. Carter was hosted by Mr. ParrikarÂ in Goa. They visited the Indian Naval Base in Karwar and Indiaâ€™s latest and biggest aircraft carrier – the INS Vikramaditya. They also visited the USS Blue Ridge which was conducting a port call in Goa. Later on Tuesday, Mr. Carter also called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The joint statement noted that the U.S. and India share a deep and abiding interest in global peace, prosperity, and stability. Pointing out that bilateral Defence cooperation was a key component of the strategic partnership between the two countries, it said that Mr. Carterâ€™s visit marked the fourth meeting between him and Mr. Parrikar within a year. His visit also comes in the last phase of President Obama’s tenure.
At a time when India also faces an aggressive China in the Indian Ocean Region and the South China Sea, Mr. Carter and Mr. Parrikar reaffirmed the importance of safeguarding maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region, including in the South China Sea. They vowed their support for a rules-based order and regional security architecture conducive to peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean, and emphasized their commitment to working together and with other nations to ensure the security and stability that have been beneficial to the Asia-Pacific for decades. They welcomed the efforts by their Â Armed Forces to further expand collaboration in the years to come, particularly their military engagements and exercises and developing plans for more advanced maritime exercises.
In support of the India-U.S. Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region and the maritime security objectives, both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in the area of maritime security. In this context, they reaffirmed their desire to expeditiously conclude a â€œwhite shippingâ€ technical arrangement to improve data sharing on commercial shipping traffic. They agreed to commence Navy-to-Navy discussions on submarine safety and anti-submarine warfare.Â Â They also agreed to launch a bilateral Maritime Security Dialogue.
DTTI Progressing Well
The two ministers reviewed the progress and reiterated their commitment to pursue co-development and co-production of advanced defence articles under the DTTI. In this context, they agreed to initiate two new DTTI pathfinder projects on Digital Helmet Mounted Displays and the Joint Biological Tactical Detection System. They commended the on-going discussions at the Jet Engine Technology Joint Working Group (JETJWG) and the Joint Working Group on Aircraft Carrier Technology Cooperation (JWGACTC). The two sides agreed to work towards greater cooperation in the field of cutting-edge defence technologies, including deepening consultations on aircraft carrier design and operations, and jet engine technology. Both sides agreed to encourage their respective defence industries to develop new partnerships in the pursuit of a range of cutting-edge projects. In support of Make in India, the U.S. shared two proposals to bolster India’s suite of fighter aircraft for consideration of the government.
Mr. ParrikarÂ noted that India has more joint exercises with the U.S. than with any other country in the world. He also underlined Indiaâ€™s continuing concern at terrorism in the region directed against it while Mr.Â Carter emphasised that eliminating terrorism, and the ideology and infrastructure that supports it, was a common objective the U.S. shares with India. Referring to Pathankot terror attack, Mr. Carter said the perpetrators of the crime should be brought to justice”