With just a week left for US President Barack Obama’s Republic Day visit, both countries were working to reach a closure on the nuclear liability and administrative arrangements to operationalise the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal and top Pentagon acquisition official arriving next Thursday to identify and seal defence technologies to India.
Government sources said while India and US were expected to extend the bilateral defence framework agreement to 2025 during President Obama’s visit, only two items from an offered US list of 17 have been identified for technology transfer.
“US under-secretary for acquisition technology and logistics, Frank Kendall, is arriving for three days on January 22 to finalise the hand launched, 10 km range unmanned aerial vehicle called Raven RQ 11, roll on-roll off intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance module for C-130 J Hercules aircraft.
Initially, Pentagon had offered 17 technologies under Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) out of which defence ministry identified four and put out a list of 13 other technologies. But Pentagon as of now has only agreed on the two technologies,” said a senior official.
Raven UAV was inducted into US army in 2001 and is currently used by 23 countries including Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Concerned at low outcomes from the high profile engagement due to cautious Obama administration bureaucracy, New Delhi may also agree to sign the logistics support agreement that allows US ships to pick up fuel and provisioning from Indian ports as well as Communication, Interoperability, Security Memorandum Agreement (CISMOA) that allows installation of American communication systems on aircraft like C-130 J and C-17.
However, the acquisition of US Apache Longbow and Chinook helicopters by India may have to be put off to another date as the two deals are still to be ratified by Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).
While US companies may get together to announce multi-billion dollar investment in Indian infrastructure development during the visit, there are differences between two sides about the US proposal to increase H1B visas as India wants these to be company centric not individual based.
The US wants India to make unilateral commitments that could be extrapolated to international levels during the Paris Climate Change Conference in November 2015.