The willingness of the US to share advanced hi-tech military knowhow with India to co-produce weapons and systems in critical defence domains indicates a long-term blueprint to significantly boost India’s defence capabilities.
Sreeram Chaulia, Professor and Dean, Jindal School of International Affairs (JSIA), O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana.
The announcement of a paradigm-changing roadmap for defence industrial co-production, co-development and technology transfer between India and the United States (US) is a milestone in the evolution of the comprehensive global strategic partnership between the world’s two top democratic powers. It has laid an institutional foundation for deepening bilateral military cooperation to maintain a favourable balance of power in Asia and keep a check on authoritarian China’s push for hegemony in the Indo-Pacific.
The willingness of the US to share advanced hi-tech military knowhow with India to co-produce weapons and systems in critical defence domains spanning air, land and sea, and the launch of the India-US Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) for closer integration of private sectors of both countries, indicate a long-term blueprint to significantly boost India’s defence capabilities while generating healthy profits for corporations on both sides.
Indian companies such as Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Tata Advanced Systems, Mahindra Aerostructures and Godrej & Boyce have been partnering with US defence giants such as GE in manufacturing marine turbines and commercial aircraft engines in India. Now, with the green signal given by the US to GE to co-produce military jet engines with Indian partners, the two countries finally have a demonstrable poster child project that can generate all-round momentum to strategic ties. Engine technology for fighter jets is a rare cutting-edge field in which India once attempted a purely indigenous programme called Kaveri but could not get optimal results. Now, with the spree of new defence deals and the related US-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) – entailing joint scientific efforts in artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, 5G and 6G, and semiconductors – an accelerated pathway has opened up for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Make in India scheme in defence. For India to become a world-class military power that matches China in all dimensions, this is exactly the big shot in the arm that was needed.
Published in: Hindustan Times
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