India and the US are planning to revitalise a defence technology sharing pact by putting several new ideas on the table, including a focus on startups, the possibility of exports to identified third nations and focusing on practical industry partnerships.
The India US Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) signed in 2012 was aimed at identifying and promoting major joint development and manufacturing projects for the defence forces but hasn’t yielded any major results.
Among the ambitious projects identified under the pact was a plan to share jet engine technology, an initiative that has floundered given a strict export control regime in the US and the lack of a strong business case from the Indian side.
Sources told ET that the next meeting of the pact planned in the capital on Thursday between Ellen M Lord, undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment and Subhash Chandra, secretary Defence Production, will look at fresh ideas to take things forward, including setting up of an industry forum that can identify and suggest practical projects that can be taken up in the future.
There have been strong suggestions from the industry to set up a Defence Industry Advisory Committee (DIAC) under the pact that will be able to supplement government efforts to promote technology sharing, but there has been reluctance from the US to take it up.
Sources said that a focus on startups is likely to enable US-based research labs to work in coordination with Indian companies for cutting edge defence technologies. In addition, the two sides will also discuss the possibility of jointly developing systems for approved third nations to pursue export opportunities.
The two sides are also likely to identify projects for cooperation in the field of space technology.
As reported by ET, an industrial security pact between India and the US has been finalised and is set to be formally inked shortly – enabling US military manufacturers to share high-end technology with their Indian partners.
Before the meeting, Ellen M Lord described India as a major defence partner and said that bilateral military trade has reached an estimated $18 billion this year, starting from virtually zero in 2008. “The United States is committed to strengthening its partnership with India while furthering military-to-military relationships and cooperation… United States and India are working bilaterally and in cooperation with other like-minded partners to advance our shared vision for the Indo-Pacific,” Lord said.