HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

India, US to co-develop weapon systems, PM flags concerns over Iraq situation

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 08, 2014
First Published: 22:41 IST(8/8/2014) | Last Updated: 14:44 IST(9/8/2014)

India and the US on Friday announced that they have decided to appoint high-ranking point-persons to "co-develop and co-produce" state-of-the-art weapon systems for strengthening defence cooperation between the two countries.

India has decided to assign this task to secretary, department of defence production, while the US will be represented by the under secretary for acquisition, technology and licensing at the Pentagon, a defence ministry spokesperson said.

The decision could put the momentum back into some stalled defence deals such as the ones relating to the sale of Javelin anti-tank guided missile systems and M777 ultra-light howitzers to India by the US.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged concerns about the situation in Iraq and its potential implications for the region during a meeting with visiting US defence secretary Chuck Hagel.

Obama had on Thursday authorised targeted air strikes in Iraq to protect American military personnel and prevent potential "genocide" of thousands of displaced minorities.

Defence minister Arun Jaitley told Hagel that indigenisation of the defence sector was a priority for the government. He said, "The development of our own indigenous capabilities is a major objective that guides our present policies. We have taken steps to raise the FDI cap in the defence sector. We look forward to work closely with the US in this regard."

Jaitley also accepted Hagel's invitation to visit Pentagon in October.

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