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US discusses arms purchase norms with India

A US delegation recently discussed multi-role combat aircraft deal, reports S Patranobis.

india Updated: Apr 05, 2006 10:59 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis

Barely days after US President George Bush left India, a high-level defence delegation from the United States flew in for a five-day visit to discuss procedures and protocol followed in arms purchases.

The delegation was led by Lieutenant General Geoffrey Kohler, who is heading the 'defence procurement and production group' (DPPG). This group is a sub group of the umbrella establishment called the 'defence policy group' (DPG), which sets guidelines and reviews the logistics in arms deals between India and the US.

Kohler flew in to Mumbai and visited the Navy's western fleet headquarters. His next stop was Bangalore where he visited the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and was taken on a round of the facility. He also visited the Bharat Electronics Limited.

The US General then flew to Goa to see the Navy's establishment there. On March 9, Kohler was in New Delhi to take part in meetings at the Defence Ministry in South Block. There he met the Director General of Acquisitions and exchanged notes about licensing procedures and the issue of transfer of technology.

Under the new licensing rules adopted by the Defence Ministry, for any deal above Rs 300 crore the new "offset policy" will come into effect. Under this policy, it is mandatory for foreign arms suppliers to give license to Indian companies to provide 30 per cent of the goods and services needed to manufacture, say, the weapons.

"India has bought weapon-locating radars from the US. During the deal, it was realised that arms purchase procedures followed by the Americans are different from ours. There were certain issues that had come up during the deal. This trip by the US delegation was essentially to get to know the procedures followed by the two countries so that future deals can be sealed smoothly," sources said.

Also discussed was the mega aircraft deal that India is looking at to buy 126 multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA).

First Published: Mar 15, 2006 00:55 IST