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Thread: Indian Global Relationships

  1. #21

    India-China Talks Come Soon After Agreement With US

    Vivek Raghuvanshi, Defense News 9:51 a.m. EDT April 14, 2016

    (Photo: Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz/US Air Force)

    NEW DELHI — Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will visit Beijing on Monday to talk with his counterpart and top-ranking Chinese military officials about how to implement an agreement to improve security along their border.

    The meetings come within a week of Parrikar and visiting US Defense Secretary Ash Carter agreeing to sign a ground-breaking agreement on logistics.

    Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) officials took pains to say that the intention in principle to help the Indian and US militaries better coordinate, including exercises, should not be interpreted as an effort to partner with the US against growing Chinese influence.

    However, analysts said India will find it difficult to walk the balancing act to better ties with China while simultaneously enhancing its security interests in the region.

    "New Delhi will have to convince China that it is not a front-line state in US efforts to check Beijing's influence in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean region," said Nitin Mehta, a defense analyst in India.

    However, Ashley J. Tellis, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said: "India is already a front-line state: It exists uncomfortably close to growing Chinese military power in Tibet, China's presence in South Asia and in the Indian Ocean, and now China's assertiveness in Southeast Asia, which threatens India's sea lanes of communication to East Asia."

    After coming to power in May 2014, the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi kept up efforts to improve ties with Beijing, but several rounds of talks to resolve the boundary dispute over which the two countries fought a brief battle in 1962 have not yielded results, and prospects appear dim in the near future.

    "The Modi government wants to segregate the bilateral strategic competition from other areas of possible cooperation. So long as the border dispute can be kept 'cold,' this strategy has a good chance of success," Tellis said.

    US Defense Secretary Ash Carter tours the Mangeshi Temple in Old Goa, India, on Sunday. (Photo: Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz/US Air Force)

    "India will always be hesitant in openly partnering with the US," said Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, a senior fellow at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation. "Nevertheless, there will be practical cooperation with the US and its allies given China's expanding strategic ambitions. The US-India-Japan triangle partnership is a case in point."

    Parrikar Talks in Beijing

    MoD officials say Parrikar's April 18-20 visit to China is largely aimed at implementing the bilateral Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA), which the two countries agreed to in 2013.

    However, intrusions across the 2,515-mile border, known as the Line of Actual Control, continue as there is no well-established institutional framework to check these incidents.

    Analysts and military officials believe the BDCA cannot be an effective mechanism of stopping intrusions until the boundary issue itself is resolved.

    "While BDCA is a stop-gap arrangement to manage the borders, it cannot be effectively implemented unless and until the border dispute itself is not resolved," said Srikanth Kondapalli, professor in Chinese studies at New Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University.

    China claims 57,000 square miles of Indian territory. While India prepares to fight China over the issue, chances of major war between the two neighbors appear remote, according to analysts.

    "Given that both China and India remain focused on their economic rise, war in a traditional sense is clearly not an option for either side," said Swaran Singh, professor of diplomacy and disarmament at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

    "Both sides have good intentions, but the realities of security competition perpetually intrude — and cannot be wished away. Through the BDCA, China and India have sought to prevent this competition from getting out of hand," Tellis said.

    Email: vraghuvanshi@defensenews.com

  2. #22

    Modi Visit Underlines Changed India-US Relationship

    Aaron Mehta and Joe Gould, Defense News 8 a.m. EDT June 5, 2016

    (Photo: Pool, Getty Images)

    WASHINGTON — When Indian prime minister Narendra Modi addresses a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, he will find a warm reception from lawmakers — something nearly unthinkable 15 years ago, when India still proudly existed as a non-allied state with the US.

    But while Modi’s appearance on the Hill will garner headlines, the biggest change in the relationship between the two nations has been happening at the executive level.

    The Obama administration has made strengthening ties with India a priority, something highlighted by the focus Defense Secretary Ash Carter has had on the South Asian nation. Carter has visited India twice, and repeatedly expressed his appreciation for both India generally and Minister of Defense Manohar Parrikar specifically.

    Ashley Tellis, a former State Department official now with the Carnegie Endowment, calls the Modi visit “a culmination of what Obama has tried to do since he came into office, adding that “executive branch to executive branch — that is a dramatic transformation where the US today sees India as a security partner of choice in the broader Indo-Pacific region.”

    Once chilly over India's nuclear tests, the US-India defense relationship now features technology exchanges, joint military exercises and, of late, an intensified maritime security dialogue undoubtedly meant to send a signal to China. Frank Wisner, an ambassador to India under President Clinton, said for all these reasons, the barriers to the relationship are no longer political, but based only on bureaucracy for the US and defense budgets for India.

    "This is one of the biggest, fastest moving defense relationships in the world, period," said Wisner, now with the international law firm Squire Patton Boggs, adding later: "We have an interest in an India that is robustly armed. India is not a predatory power, and she is big enough and important enough that she helps anchor the balance of power in Asia. A good relationship with India is part of a good relationship with China."

    As with everything in the Pacific, the focus comes down to China. The US is concerned that China is becoming a true peer competitor, with Pentagon officials often referring to China and Russia as driving a return to “Great Power” competition. For India, China’s expansion into the South China Sea threatens its maritime security, turning China from a threat isolated in the Himalayan region to an existential one.

    “Indian interests and American interests fundamentally converge with respect to China,” Tellis said. “Obama understands China is really the big game the US has to get right, and I think it’s in that context that the relationship in India is viewed today. And that will outlast President Obama — whomever the next president is won’t be able to avoid the China problem.”

    Given that focus, it is no surprise that the Pentagon has grown increasingly open to technological development programs with India.

    The core of the technology relationship between the two nations is the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), a specialized program launched in 2012 and championed by Carter, then deputy defense secretary.

    India is seeking help from the US in two major areas: engine technology for its proposed homegrown advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA), and an electro-magnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) for the proposed indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vishal. The two nations have also agreed to a series of “pathfinder” programs, small-money co-development programs that analysts view as more symbolic than game changing.

    But the biggest opportunity for the nations to work together is on the horizon. After years of false starts, including the cancellation last year of the Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program, the Modi government hopes to select a new fighter jet design to provide the backbone of the Indian Air Force.

    Both Lockheed Martin and Boeing have teams in India pitching the F-16V and F/A-18 designs, respectively. While both fighters lost out under the MMRCA program, where the criteria was largely focused on price, the Modi government appears to be operating under new requirements, giving hope to the American firms.

    If India selects an American fighter, it would change the relationship between US and Indian industry, Tellis said.

    “I think the game changes because then you will have major defense cooperation on a scale we have never seen with the US,” he said. “It starts with buying 90 planes but probably ends up with manufacturing 200 airplanes in India. That is big. So I think that is something we will have to wait and see what happens.”

    At the margins of Modi's visit, leaders are expected to discuss several defense issues from Carter's most recent visit to India, according to Wisner. India has attached priority to high-end, secure communications gear for their troops, wherein Wisner sees potential for a deal for a US firm to install, operate and maintain such equipment.

    While the Pentagon has been open to India, some in Congress would like to expand that relationship even farther.

    In March, Rep. George Holding, a North Carolina Republican who co-chairs the India caucus, introduced the “US-India Defense Technology and Partnership Act,” legislation that seeks to formally strengthen the relationship between the two nations. Most notably, it would alter the Arms Export Control Act to “extend special foreign military sales status to India,” language that would have essentially put India into the top tier of US allies.

    That bill evolved into an amendment to the House version of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act without the overt heft of the original, but with significant implications. The new language requires the Pentagon to put extra emphasis on increasing relations with India, and to “promote policies that will encourage the efficient review and authorization of defense sales and exports to India” and “encourage greater government-to-government and commercial military transactions between the United States and India.”

    "What's been introduced in Congress is the most forward leaning, pro-India legislation since the nuclear deal on the table a decade ago," said DoD's former country director for India, Ben Schwartz, now the US-India Business Council's director for defense and aerospace.

    The legislation's key impact, Schwartz said, would be to institutionalize the US-India security relationship beyond the ad-hoc DTTI — needed because India is not a formal treaty ally. Among other bureaucratic forcing functions, the language would encourage the US to consider India's military capabilities to execute missions of mutual interest — such as disaster relief and counter-piracy — in the context of defense trade and sales.

    In essence, its passage would send a new, friendly signal from Congress to India's defense establishment, which according to Schwartz, may be holding back on deals with the US for a fighter jet or other major systems because it remembers the era of US sanctions and hence views the US as an unreliable partner.

    Deepening ties do not mean everyone in Washington and New Delhi see eye to eye. In a Feb. 25 letter to Modi, a bipartisan group of 32 US lawmakers raised concerns over intolerance toward non-Hindu faiths in India. Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., led the letter's signatories and was one of one of the key players behind denying Modi a US visa some years back over his alleged negligence during the 2002 anti-Muslim massacre in Gujarat.

    A Modi spokesman called the letter "unfortunate" and said it focused unduly on a few aberrant incidents. An Indian court on Thursday convicted 24 people of involvement in the 2002 riots, in which 1,000 people died.

    "I’m a firm supporter of greater engagement with India, including a deepening of our military relationship," Pitts said in a June 2 statement. "However, many observers are concerned that the human rights climate is heading in the wrong direction. Prioritizing high human rights standards, especially with regard to religious freedom, is essential to navigating this deepening friendship and bolstering security in the region.”

    Another argument in Washington against special status for India, according to Schwartz, has been that because India is not a treaty ally and has not sent soldiers to fight alongside US troops in recent wars, it's not deserving. Yet the US needs India, with its demographic and economic weight, to provide a counterweight to China, and must help sew up India's gaps in military technology, he said.

    "This shouldn't be about giving out gold stars when deepening the relationship is a fundamental national security interest," Schwartz said.

    Analysts agree relations between the US and India are only heading in one direction: expansion.

    “This is just the beginning of that change,” Tellis said. “If you look at the kind of economic transformations that are underway, we are in the beginning of a very long cycle of change in Indian capabilities. And this is just about 10 or 15 years old. It hasn’t peaked yet. We’ve got a couple of decades for this to continue.”

    Email: amehta@defensenews.com | jgould@defensenews.com

    Twitter: @AaronMehta | @ReporterJoe

  3. #23

    Skepticism Persists in Strengthened US-India Ties

    Vivek Raghuvanshi, Defense News 9:01 a.m. EDT June 11, 2016

    Indian PM Modi Meets With President Obama At The White House
    (Photo: Pool, Getty Images)

    NEW DELHI — India is seen to be warming up to tighter relations with the United States, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the US Congress June 8 during his fourth visit after coming to power in May 2014.

    But while two US lawmakers introduced legislation June 8 in the House of Representatives to designate India as a Special Global Partner of America, analysts here are unsure about the new stance toward Washington, which marks a paradigm shift in India's foreign and defense policy.

    In general, a tighter embrace is in store, or so it seems from Modi's address to lawmakers, though it is unclear what practical steps might follow. One recent exchange between the two sides illustrates the differing expectations at play. Shortly after U.S. Pacific Command chief Adm. Harry Harris publicly envisioned the Indian and US navies "sailing together," Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar said there would be no joint patrolling, notes Bharat Karnad, research professor at New Delhi based Centre for Policy Research.

    Amit Cowshish, the Ministry of Defense’s former additional finance secretary, says, "India does seem to be tilting towards [the] US in recent years. In so far as defense is concerned, the only concrete result has been a substantial increase in import of defense equipment from US through the Foreign Military Sales route. There has been enhanced cooperation in areas such as counterterrorism but co-development and co-production projects are yet to take off in a big way."

    India has tried to remain neutral between Russia and the US and wants to avoid antagonizing China, with which it fought a brief battle in 1962. A resulting border dispute, covering thousands of kilometers, remains unresolved.

    To the question of whether India has abandoned its neutral position under the Modi government, Karnad said: "That appears to be so. Again, this would appear to be more rhetorical and audience-pleasing statements than realizable goals simply because otherwise India would face unbearable strains in relations with Russia and costs, especially if the Russian supply and military R&D cooperation connection eroded significantly."

    Some analysts here say India and the United States should have inked the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) during Modi's visit, which was agreed to in principle during US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter's visit here in April this year.

    A formal agreement, when signed, will facilitate the bilateral flow of supplies, spare parts and services from land facilities, air bases, and ports, which can then be reimbursed, added the MoD source.

    Modi, in his remarks before a joint session of Congress, acknowledged India’s value as a defense market, its role in regional maritime security and a strong India-US partnership's potential to “anchor peace, prosperity and stability from Asia to Africa.”

    “India exercises with the United States more than we do with any other partner,” Modi said to applause. “Defense purchases have moved from almost zero to $10 billion dollars in less than a decade. Our cooperation also secures our cities and citizens from terrorists, and protects our critical infrastructure from cyber threats.”

    But while no MoD official would say if the draft of the LEMOA had been finalized, an official in the Ministry of External Affairs said, the draft was frozen during the Obama-Modi meeting.

    "The fact that the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement was not signed during Modi's current visit to US indicates that there continue to be many differences in the perception by the two sides on the issue," says Rahul Bhonsle, retired Indian Army Brigadier and defense analyst here.

    Though the pact went unsigned, Ben Schwartz, now the US-India Business Council's director for defense and aerospace, said the strides made demonstrate the Modi government is “willing to risk short term domestic political pressure -- by those who misconstrue the agreement as a concession that weakens Indian sovereignty -- in order to reap the longer term benefits of defense cooperation with the United States.”

    With US support, India is now more confident of getting membership of the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) club and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which will enable India to acquire armed high-altitude, long-endurance drones. India has been in talks with the US for acquiring Predator drones.

    "The US administration is really pulling out all stops to make India a part of major world groupings, such as the NSG, and this exemplifies the personal investment made by both heads of state in strengthening the bilateral relationship. With India's imminent inclusion in the MTCR fold, several US technologies and platforms could be made available and India will have to decide on them sooner rather than later," Ankur Gupta, defense analyst with E&Y India.

    The warming up of ties with US under the Modi regime is likely to evoke concern from Moscow, one of the traditional and main suppliers of weapons and equipment to India.

    "Moscow has conveyed Russian apprehensions in no uncertain manner to the Ministry of External Affairs and the government of India," says Karnad.

    However, Chwshish says, "There is no question why Russia should be miffed at the warm welcome accorded to Prime Minister Modi in the US.” India's relations with the US “are independent of our relations with Russia, just as US's relations with China are independent of our relations with China," he added.

    Going forward, New Delhi and Washington will need to demonstrate their growing defense partnership on the ground by undertaking hi-tech defense projects on a co-production and co-development basis, otherwise Modi's visit and warming up to US will only be seen as mere rhetoric and theatrics, opined a MoD official who requested anonymity to discuss the politically sensitive issue.

  4. #24

    "Going forward, New Delhi and Washington will need to demonstrate their growing defense partnership on the ground by undertaking hi-tech defense projects on a co-production and co-development basis, otherwise Modi's visit and warming up to US will only be seen as mere rhetoric and theatrics, opined a MoD official who requested anonymity to discuss the politically sensitive issue."

    Translation: We want the US to give us technology on discounted terms and then help us to build them here in India, hopefully more successfully than any of the many other indigenous-built military hardware programs we've tried and stuffed up over the last few decades.

    Reality. If India wants to remain a superpower rubbing up against China and it's proxy Pakistan, they will need quality military hardware. The best place to get it is from the West, but the vast array of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats with their hands out every step of the way makes it difficult to get a program off the ground. As for building high-tech capabilities in India, the chances are pretty much zero. Between incompetent management, sieve-like security and frankly ridiculous levels of pork-barreling Indian defence manufacturing will never be competitive with manufacture elsewhere until there is a complete shakeup of the process from top to bottom.

    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
    It is by the juice of sapho that thoughts acquire speed,
    the lips acquire stains, the stains become a warning.
    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.

  5. #25

    Delhi and Hanoi Get Serious About the Supersonic BrahMos Missile (And More)

    Amid a great competition between Asia’s two large powers, does India see Vietnam as China sees Pakistan?

    By Harsh V. Pant

    July 06, 2016

    As India plans a more robust presence in the greater Asia-Pacific, it is in the process of enhancing its defense ties with Vietnam. India seems now ready to sell the supersonic BrahMos missile, a product of an Indo-Russian joint venture, to Vietnam after dilly dallying on Hanoi’s request for this sale since 2011. Though India’s ties with Vietnam have been growing over the last few years, this sale was seen as a step too far that would antagonize China. But now the Modi government in India has directed BrahMos Aerospace, which produces the missiles, to expedite this sale to Vietnam along with four other countries, including Indonesia, South Africa, Chile and Brazil.

    Other defense projects are also being expedited. Delhi will be helping Vietnam in the westernization of two of its Petya-class frigates for an antisubmarine role as well as providing Hanoi with at least 10 new patrol boats under the line of credit route. India has provided Vietnam with a $100 million line of credit, which is being utilized by Vietnam for the procurement of offshore patrol boats for their border guards. Hanoi is also interested in India’s high*-speed heavy weight torpedo ‘Varunastra.’ India’s overtures come shortly after the United States also lifted its longstanding ban on sales of lethal military equipment to Vietnam. New Delhi, for its part, wants to build relations with states like Vietnam that can act as pressure points against China. With this in mind, it has been helping Hanoi beef up its naval and air capabilities. For some in India, Vietnam can act as a counterweight in the same way Pakistan has been for China in India’s backyard.

    Moreover, as the world awaits a crucial verdict in The Hague on Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea, it is instructive that India entered the fraught region of the South China Sea via Vietnam. India signed an agreement with Vietnam in October 2011 to expand and promote oil exploration in South China Sea and then reconfirmed its decision to carry on as planned despite a Chinese challenge to the legality of Indian presence. Beijing told New Delhi that its permission was needed for India’s state-owned oil and gas firm to explore for energy in two Vietnamese blocks in those waters. But Vietnam quickly cited the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to claim its sovereign rights over the two blocks in question. India immediately decided to support Hanoi’s claims.

    Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was in Hanoi last month to push strategic ties at a time when the two states are celebrating 45 years of diplomatic relations and 10 years of a strategic partnership. India is charting an ambitious new course in the region as its engagements with states like Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines have become more serious. India has publicly supported Vietnam and the Philippines in their disputes with China. Indian naval ships have been visiting Vietnam in the South China Sea region and the two nations have continued to cooperate on hydrocarbon exploration in the South China Sea, despite Beijing’s warnings.

    India’s engagement with Vietnam is becoming a benchmark in New Delhi’s rapidly evolving policy toward the region more broadly. As India’s ties with China become more contentious, Hanoi will increasingly play an ever more important role in New Delhi’s strategic calculus.

  6. #26

    Indian Minister Visits Middle East, Signaling New Focus on Region

    By: Vivek Raghuvanshi, August 18, 2016

    NEW DELHI -- India's junior Foreign Minister Mobashar Jawad Akbar is visiting the Middle East from*Aug. 17 to 23, including Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, and the trip is*being*interpreted by analysts here as a break away from an earlier policy to*keep a*distance.

    "The visit is part of an effort to bring greater clarity in Indo-West*Asian relations," an official of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)*said.

    Akbar will be the first minister to visit Syria since the eruption of*civil war in 2011.

    "Having a large Muslim population here in India has so far kept officials away*[from such*visits], which could be interpreted as taking sides in a sectarian*conflict*in West Asia. However, Akbar's visit signals a break from the stay-away*policy," says defense analyst Nitin Mehta.

    "The visit is not strategic in nature but only an attempt to break away*from the policy and understand first-hand what is happening on the*ground,"*adds Mehta.

    Akbar is scheduled to visit Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and*Foreign*Minister Walid Al-Moallem.

    "India asked its minister to go ahead with the visit to Syria, as the US*and*Russia -- once at loggerheads over Assad -- are now jointly cooperating*against the*Islamic State," dubbed IS, Mehta said.

    "New Delhi has been avoiding to name IS in public statements, but now*openly IS the biggest threat to peace in West Asia," the MEA official*said.

  7. #27

    India to Sign LEMOA Pact With US

    By: Vivek Raghuvanshi, August 23, 2016

    NEW DELHI - India will sign the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with the US during the late August visit of Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar to the US, according to a senior official of the Indian Ministry of Defense.

    LEMOA will enable the nations to access supplies, spare parts and services from each other's land facilities, air bases, and ports, which can then be reimbursed, the MoD official said.

    However, the signing of the LEMOA does not give automatic access to the use of military bases, the official added. With the signing of the agreement, Indian warships can have access to U.S. bases in the Indian Ocean.

    India has provided logistics assistance to the U.S. in the past on case-by-case basis, including providing refueling facilities to American aircraft during the Gulf War in 2001.

    India and the US agreed in principle to sign the LEMOA in April this year. LEMOA is different from the Logistics Support Agreement that the US signs with other countries, the MoD official said; LEMOA is specific to India.

    "Washington has been urging New Delhi to sign the LSA along with two other agreements which it regards as foundational agreements to enable the India-U.S. military relationship to grow deeper," said Mahindra Singh, a defense analyst here.

    The three agreements are the Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement, the Logistics Support Agreement and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for geospatial intelligence.

  8. #28

    Indian MinDef Seeks Greater US Industrial Ties

    By: Aaron Mehta, August 29, 2016

    WASHINGTON -- As a sign of tightening bonds between the US and Indian militaries, the Indian defense minister this week will sit down with the top defense technology minds from both inside and outside the Pentagon.

    Manohar Parrikar is in the US for a three day visit, starting with Monday’s meeting with his US counterpart, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, and in comments Monday made it clear he intends to come away from his visit having increased ties between the US defense industry and that of his home country.

    On Tuesday, Parrikar will have a sit down with top US industrial companies, and in comments to the press Monday, the minister was not shy about his goal to “encourage” future tie-ups between US and Indian defense firms.

    “I wish to invite US industry, including the defense industry, to be part of this new journey of hope and transformation in India,” the minister said.

    Tuesday's meeting is organized by the US-India Business Council, part of the US Chamber of Commerce. Ben Schwartz, the Council's Director for Defense and Aerospace, told Defense News that 20-25 companies will be attending, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Textron.*

    Parrikar*likely won’t need a hard sell, with US firms having eyed a greater share of the Indian market for most of the past 15 years. But after continuous delays on a number of high-profile military industrial projects, including for the right to provide India with a new fleet of high-end fighter aircraft, there is hope that the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be able to finally push through new defense agreements.

    "I think the Modi government is taking some very positive steps to promote more co-development and co-production in the defense sector," Schwartz said. "There really is forward momentum at the political level. What remains to be done is working things out more at the level that occurs at the companies, and the lower level people at the Indian government in the acquisition system."

    Schwartz points to concerns from US companies about how offsets are done in India, both due to Indian officials who are disincentivized to push programs forward and because of long-standing rules about how much work must be done inside India for new programs.But he believes moves from the Modi government have made it easier than ever for US firms to do work in India.*

    "Arguably the most significant policy shift of the Modi government has been opening up the defense sector to private industry," Schwartz said. "That was pretty substantial."*

    In addition to industry, Parrikar met with the leadership of the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) group, as well as visit the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Parrikar will also US Cyber Command, Air Combat Command (ACC) and the 480 th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing.

    DIUx and DARPA provide two of the pillars for US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s innovation initiative, and both represent ways for non-traditional suppliers to enter the Pentagon system. *The visit to ACC is interesting, as India is currently considering procurement of either the Lockheed Martin F-16V or Boeing F/A-18 fighter designs.

    Speaking after that meeting, Carter said of Parrikar, “he’s an innovator. He’s a great partner and a true friend,” and reiterated his belief that the US-India relationship is “destined to be one of the defining partnerships of the 21 st century.”

    Carter and Parrikar announced several incremental steps forward, but had no major news to share on any key defense technology initiatives, such as the sharing of jet-engine or aircraft carrier technology.

    They did, however, emphasize the importance of India being named a Major Defense Partner in June, with Carter calling it an “enormous change.” *

    “Across the board of what we do, whether they are co-production, co-development, whether they are exercises and the kinds of things that we do operationally together, in all of those respects, some of the barriers that were erected in the past when we didn’t interact so much, all those are being knocked down,” Carter said.

    Parrikar also announced that the two sides had formally signed a new logistics agreement, which Washington has been pushing Delhi to sign for the past decade. The two sides had announced they had reached an agreement in principal during an April visit from Carter to India.

    Part of the holdup with that agreement had been over concerns in India it would allow the US to set up a base on Indian soil, something Parrikar waved off as a concern.

    “It doesn’t have anything to do with setting up of base. It’s basically logistics support to each other’s fleet,” Parrikar said.

    This story was updated with new comment from Schwartz.*

  9. #29

    Three Takeaways from Carter’s Recent Meeting with His Indian Counterpart

    By Alyssa Ayres
    Council on Foreign Relations

    August 30, 2016

    DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Tim D. Godbee

    A long-awaited agreement finally clears the way for logistics cooperation. Just don’t call it 'basing.’

    Indian Minister of Defense Manohar Parrikar came to Washington on Monday for his sixth meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. Secretary Carter noted in his opening statement of their*joint press conference that he has spent more time with Minister Parrikar “than with any other counterpart.” He did not qualify the statement further, and did not limit his remark to convey “any other non-NATO” counterpart or a similar formulation. For me, that gives us takeaway number one about U.S.-India defense ties: The time Carter and his counterpart, Parrikar, are investing in this venture illustrates the opportunity they perceive in a deepened strategic relationship—but also underscores the hard, time-consuming work required to find a way for the defense systems in both countries to learn to work together more*seamlessly.

    Carter and Parrikar both highlighted the importance of “shared values” in the defense relationship, and repeatedly referenced freedom of navigation and the fight against terrorism to illustrate those shared values. They spoke about a convergence of views, and a gradually-expanding technology partnership, that will make U.S.-India ties “a defining partnership of the twenty-first century.”

    Carter developed his “handshake” metaphor for the U.S.-India relationship more fully, describing ties as “two important handshakes.” The first handshake brings together the U.S. rebalance to Asia with India’s “Act East” policy, to use the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Asia strategy. Both countries’ outstretched hands, so to speak, meet in the Indo-Pacific, where their shared point of view and common sense of conduct create an ever-larger platform for cooperation.

    The second handshake centers on deeper technology sharing, with increasingly more complex joint projects on the anvil. As the joint statement from the Carter-Parrikar meeting notes, both sides finalized in July five new technology initiative working groups: naval systems; air systems; ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance); and other systems. This is on top of the working groups already underway through the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative. All of this gives us takeaway number two: The emphasis on technology partnership is not just about cool new toys, but about enhancing power toward the shared purpose of freedom of navigation and overflight and countering terror. Neither cabinet official mentioned China, nor Pakistan, nor any of the other specific maritime threats such as counterpiracy—but the importance of reinforcing the rule of law came through loud and*clear.

    Parrikar’s Washington visit provided the occasion for the long-delayed formalization of the new U.S.-India Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA). After negotiations on this logistics agreement stretched out over more than a decade, many observers (including myself) hoped it would be inked during Carter’s visit to India in April 2016. Unfortunately, that visit elicited language about “expecting” the agreement to be signed in “the coming weeks.” Prime Minister Modi’s Washington visit in June raised expectations once again, but the joint statement from that visit merely “welcomed finalization of the text” of the LEMOA. With today’s signing, this long-ruminated logistics agreement can finally become operational.

    But notably, both Carter and Parrikar took great pains at their joint press conference to repeatedly explain that the LEMOA agreement was an “enabler,” not a basing agreement “of any kind.” This message surely goes out to Indian listeners, some of whom remain wary that partnership with the United States will erode India’s longstanding policy independence. A follow up question from the press about moving ahead on subsequent agreements prompted a reply from Parrikar emphasizing how long LEMOA had taken, as if it were too early to start thinking about*others.

    This brings me to takeaway number three: As close as India is ready to come to the United States, New Delhi does not desire a military alliance that would tie it to U.S. decision-making and military activities around the world. Indeed, Carter carefully described LEMOA as something that would make operating together easier “when we choose to do so” but that governments would choose when to do so on a case-by-case basis. The repeated clarification shows how partnership with New Delhi will be unlike ties with other close U.S. allies and partners—it has clear limits, and the Indian government will not hesitate to draw those lines.

    This post appears courtesy of CFR.org.

  10. #30

    Next Administration Urged To Maintain U.S.-India Defense Trade Ties

    Oct 14, 2016

    Jen DiMascio | Aviation Week & Space Technology

    A senior Obama administration official and a new report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) both urge the next administration to maintain U.S. ties to India, which have grown progressively closer over the last two presidencies. A decade ago, the U.S. and India were making tentative moves toward cooperation on defense trade and a nuclear security agreement. Boeing alone has sold $10 billion worth of military equipment in that time frame, including major deals for Chinook and Apache helicopters. And the stage is set for even more.*

    Through the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative started by Defense Secretary Ash Carter when he was still the Pentagon’s top procurement official, the U.S. has identified a handful of key areas for defense trade and technology cooperation. The original list included portable electric power generation and roll-on/roll-off intelligence and surveillance modules for transport aircraft as well as small unmanned aircraft systems; now jet engine and aircraft carrier technology are on the agenda.

    Peter Lavoy, the senior director for South Asia at the White House’s National Security Council, explains a key difference for trade: “We have overhauled our approach with the presumption of approval of even the most sensitive technologies, rather than the presumption of denial.” Lavoy also says that in the future, the U.S. and India should be collaborating “in all domains—in space, in the air, on the seas, under the sea, on land and in multilateral fora.”

    Along with Chinook and Apache helicopters and P-8 surveillance aircraft, Boeing is also looking to sell F/A-18 fighters to India and deepen manufacturing ties there. Credit: Boeing

    The ultimate prize will be fulfilling a requirement for at least 90 Indian air force combat aircraft—and perhaps additional naval aircraft—that remains after Dassault sold just 36 Rafale fighters to India. Boeing and Lockheed Martin, along with Dassault and Saab, are waiting in the wings. CSIS points out that a fighter deal, which Boeing would ultimately like to leverage into an Indian manufacturing contract for thousands of commercial aircraft sales, is a key driving force. Plus, the report notes, given India’s interest in equipping its second aircraft carrier with a catapult launch system could support Boeing’s F/A-18. The report also suggests that the U.S. Navy would be willing to share electromagnetic launch-system technology with India.

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