International Relations

INDO-US TECH REACHED STAGNATION?

Gist

Co-development of advanced weapons still remains a dream for the 6-year old INDO-US pact under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).

Analysis

The Indo-US pact to produce futuristic weapons and technologies as part of their expanded strategic partnership has failed to deliver any concrete results, as reported.

What is DTTI?

It is one of the most important element with in the Defence Framework Agreement. Originally, it was called the ‘Carter Initiative’ after US Deputy Secretary Ashton Carter.

Objectives of DTTI

  • To strengthen defence cooperation by facilitating Indian companies to collaborate with US partners in Defense Coproduction, with US providing technology and guidance.
  • Move away from ‘buyer-seller’ dynamic towards a more collaborative approach.
  • Improve strategic partnership to counter the Chinese influence.

Tech Promised under DTTI

A project to co-develop Sealink Advanced Analysis (SA2) systems to track vessels and enhance maritime domain awareness is almost finalized.

India wanted to develop Kaveri Cryogenic engine but the US refused to share key technologies in collaboration.

Also, under ‘Make-in-india’ initiative, some joint developments taken were:

  1. Intelligence-gathering and reconnaissance modules for C-130J Super Hercules aircraft
  2. Mobile electric hybrid power sources
  3. Chemical, biological warfare protection gear for soldiers

Defence supplies from the US

  • US exported defence equipment north $17 Billion in the last decade including Transporter planes, Air-to-Air missiles, etc.
  • Additionally, a $2.1 Billion deal for 24 Naval multi-role MM-60 ‘Romeo’ helicopters & $1 Billion acquisition of American National Advanced surface to Air Missile system-II are also awaiting finalization.

Comment:

  • Recently, India signed COMCASA with the US, thereby completing three out of four strategic agreements which the US has with its allies.
  • India-US relations, particularly in the defence sector have strengthened steadily after the initiatives of the incumbent PM. The 2+2 dialogue signed, made diplomatic and defence partnership between the two nations stronger.
  • Closeness to India has irked our neighboring countries like Pakistan and China. Pakistan had been an ally of the US, however, after the ’Abbotabad incident’ & the operation on Osama Bin Laden, US distanced itself and found, India, in the subcontinent.
  • The above delay in developing weapons might be due to India-Iran oil trade. USA has imposed CAATSA on Iran and has asked it to give details of the litany of nuclear projects which Iran has been commencing.
  • India’s proximity to US has also upset Russia which was the largest exporter of arms/ammunitions and equipment to India. Although diplomatic relations are stable with India, Russia now feels betrayed.
  • The US-Israel-India Axis is getting stronger. India had always kept Non-Alignment as its basic principle for its international relations with China, US, Russia. But recent closeness has made its allies upset.
  • Further developments in acquiring and producing futuristic weapons would not only strengthen India’s bid for permanent seat in the UN Security Council and the Nuclear Supplies Group, it would also enhance R&D capabilities, skilled labour generation, employment opportunities, less burden on Current Account and a healthy trade deficit.
  • Lastly, India-US are also cooperating through military exercises and along with Australia and Japan, forming a quadrilateral to lessen Chinese influence in Western Pacific and India Ocean.

Hence, though there is a delay, mutual cooperation has a lot to offer for betterment of the two countries.

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