Defence trade with India to reach $18 billion this year: Pentagon
Undersecretary Of Defense For Acquisition And Sustainment Ellen M Lord said the US is committed to strengthen its partnership with India while furthering military-to-military relationships and cooperation.Updated: Oct 20, 2019 06:29 IST
The bilateral defence trade between Indian and the US is expected to reach $18 billion by the end of the year, the Pentagon said on Saturday. The statement comes ahead of the ninth India-US Defence Technologies and Trade Initiative (DTTI) group meeting in New Delhi next week.
The DTTI seeks to identify opportunities for co-development and co-production of military hardware, collaborate on science and technology projects and jointly explore policy changes needed to further the military relationship.
“The United States is committed to strengthening its partnership with India while furthering military-to-military relationships and cooperation,” Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters. “Bilateral defense trade, essentially zero in 2008, will reach an estimated $18 billion later this year,” she said.
At a meeting of the Defence Policy Group in August, India and the US took stock of ongoing cooperation in recent years in defence trade, technology, procurement, industry, R&D and mil-to-mil engagement.
Lord heads to New Delhi next week to co-chair the DTTI group meeting with her co-chair secretary for defence protection Apurva Chandra.
Lord said she expects to announce progress in ties in the aftermath of the signing of the COMCASA (Communications, Compatibility and Security Agreement) at the first 2+2 in Delhi last September. “I personally have seen an uptick in the pace of movement in India, the willing to -- willingness to engage, and we truly are developing some new capabilities together for production in India, as well as to be produced here.” COMCASA is the third foundational agreement signed by India and US, paving the way for increased interoperability between their militaries.
The US Senate, in June, passed a legislative provision that brings India at par with America’s NATO allies and countries like Israel and South Korea for increasing defence cooperation.
“All of these examples show how the United States and India are working bilaterally and in cooperation with other like-minded partners to advance our shared vision for the Indo-Pacific,” she said. Lord said she personally has seen an uptick in the pace of movement in India and the willingness to engage. “We truly are developing some new capabilities together for production in India, and to be produced here,” she said.