Days ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s summit meeting with President Barack Obama, India and US are quietly working towards a Defence Technology Initiative (DTI) that involves joint designing, development and production of high-end technology such as stealth technology, aircrafts, aircraft engines, helicopters, fuel efficient missile engines and precision technology.
Top government sources said that while the DTI is still on the drawing board and in the conception stage, Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and ministry of defence are onboard to bring the defence industries on both sides together to produce hi-tech equipment.
National security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon hinted at the new initiative at an Aspen India lecture on India and US relations on Friday when he talked about joint development and co-production of high-tech products.
The two leaders are expected to discuss the DTI in the forthcoming meeting in Washington on September 27 and may close the agreement.
It is learnt that the DTI was first put on the bilateral table when US deputy secretary of defence Ashton Carter visited India in June 2012.
Once signed, it will send a clear signal to US defence majors such as Raytheon and Lockheed Martin that they could directly do business with India without looking for approval from US government.
“The idea is to bring the US and Indian defence private sector companies like TATAs, L&T and Reliance together so that both countries could further research and development in hi-tech defence areas. The vision is that India-US defence joint ventures produce platforms like aircraft and helicopters in India,” said a senior official.
Sources said that India has asked US defence majors to study the request for quotations or information issued by the defence ministry so that they are well-versed with the process and requirements.
“The DTI is not a back-door US defence hardware acquisition process but a way forward for making India participate in advance defence technologies,” said a senior official.