Indian Defense Minister Parrikar Attends Closed Door Meet with Businesses

Minister Manohar Parrikar (C)

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Washington, DC – The visiting Indian Minister of Defense attended a closed door roundtable this week with senior executives of American and Indian aerospace and defense companies.

Speaking at the event, Minister Manohar Parrikar said, “In the past one year, there have been sincere attempts from the Indian Ministry of Defense to change the mindset. Numerous positive changes have been incorporated through the revision of the offset policy and the Defense Procurement Procedure (DPP). The US government needs to reciprocate positively for technology transfer approvals and leverage opportunities created by the procedural changes in Indian defense procurement.”

USIBC President Mukesh Aghi welcomed the Minister saying, “The past decade has been a period in which our bilateral security ties have seen robust growth, not just in value, but in the level of technical partnership as well. The visit of Minister Parrikar highlights the growing trust between the two countries.”

In addition to a Ministry of Defense delegation accompanying the Minister, Under Secretary of Defense Frank Kendall, and bothUS and Indian Ambassadors also attended this meeting.

Both sides expressed that progress has been made on the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) pathfinder projects which include, the Raven mini Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), “roll-on, roll-off” mission modules for C-130J aircraft, Mobile Electric Hybrid Power Sources (MEHPS) and Next Generation Protective Ensemble (NGPE) for soldiers.17 new ideas for cooperation under the DTTI are also being discussed. The US proposed 11 new ideas for possible cooperation while India has proposed six new proposals.

US Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L) Kendall said, “The DTTI has become a key part of the defense relationship between the Indian Ministry of Defense and the US Department of Defense. Cooperation under DTTI has achieved significant progress since it was initiated in 2012, particularly in the past year. We have identified many new areas for cooperative research and development, and both sides are committed to continue to exchange ideas in the search for additional projects for possible co-development and co-production that meet the spirit of DTTI. I look forward to visiting India in February to continue our DTTI efforts.”

According to a release after the meeting, there has also been significant engagement through the Jet Engine Technology Joint Working Group (JETJWG) as both governments have recently signed their Terms of Reference (TOR) to start work. The Joint Working Group on Aircraft Carrier Technology Cooperation (JWGACTC) has also moved forward on an Information Exchange Agreement that includes the US thought process behind aircraft carrier design/configurations and an Indian Navy Request for Information for aircraft design consultancy.

Orlando Carvalho, Executive Vice President, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics said, “Lockheed Martin has been engaged in manufacturing both military and commercial aircraft in India for many years. We are encouraged by the measures enacted by the Government of India earlier this month to promote greater ease of doing business and partnership with Indian industry. We are excited at the opportunities for joint development and production that will take the US-India defense industry relationship to new levels and make the aerospace and defense sector a key part of the goal to grow our bilateral trade to $500 billion.”

“Boeing’s recently announced joint venture in India to produce aero structures for the AH-64 Apache helicopter and to compete for additional manufacturing work packages across Boeing platforms is a clear demonstration of Boeing’s long term commitment to the Make in India campaign,” said Prat Kumar, President for Boeing India. “The world will be able to access components and equipment that has been jointly designed, developed, and produced by the best from the American and Indian defense enterprise. This speaks volumes about the nature of US-India bilateral ties.”

“I am delighted Minister Parrikar had the opportunity to visit the US to discuss Textron Systems’ important, strategic relationship with India. Textron is pleased to see movement that directly improves and promotes our ability to do business with each other. Textron Systems’ recent agreement on a mutually advantageous offset program is a testament to the progress and success we have made with India. Textron Systems will continue to support Make in India and looks forward to continued success in a long term relationship,” said Ellen Lord, President and CEO, Textron Systems and member of USIBC Board of Directors.

Discussions focused on pushing the needle forward on “Make in India” and challenges around technology transfer. Over the past year, scientists and engineers from the two militaries have conducted five workshops in Autonomy, Cognitive Sciences, Directed Energy, Materials, and Munitions/ CIED. More workshops, including one on manufacturing, are expected soon.

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