NEW DELHI: India and the US have concluded a roadmap for defence industry cooperation for the next few years, the Indian government said today, a move expected to bolster New Delhi’s defence manufacturing ambitions.
Washington is working to deepen ties with the world’s largest democracy and sees deeper military-to-military and technology ties with the South Asian country as a key counterweight to China’s dominance in the region.
The roadmap was finalised at a meeting between visiting US defence secretary Lloyd Austin and Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh.
The agreement comes weeks before Indian prime minister Narendra Modi visits Washington on June 22 for an official state visit and holds talks with President Joe Biden.
Talks between Singh and Austin had a “particular focus on identifying ways to strengthen industrial cooperation”, the Indian defence ministry statement said.
“Both sides will identify opportunities for co-development of new technologies and co-production of existing and new systems and facilitate increased collaboration between defence start-up ecosystems of the two countries,” it said.
“Towards these objectives, they concluded a roadmap for US-India Defence Industrial Cooperation which shall guide the policy direction for the next few years.”
India, the world’s largest arms importer, depends on Russia for nearly half its military supplies, but has also increasingly diversified its sources to buy from the US, France and Israel, among others.
New Delhi also wants global defence manufacturers to partner with Indian companies and produce arms and military equipment in India for local consumption as well as exports.