During the DTTI’s ninth group meeting held on Thursday in New Delhi, the US delegation showed an interest in providing an 'entire fighter aircraft ecosystem' to India, implying that the country should consider looking to partner with the US aerospace defence sector rather than Russia or France.
"With the fighter jet programme, we are very, very interested in providing an entire fighter aircraft ecosystem to India,” senior US official Ellen Lord said at the round-table meeting in New Delhi.
Washington’s objective vis-à-vis defence cooperation with New Delhi in this context is to “not only bring in aircraft, but also bring in training and sustainment for the whole life cycle, which we believe we can offer to the Indian government," Lord, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, added.
Asserting that both countries have moved forward with the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), one of four foundational agreements that guide US high technology cooperation with other countries in the defence sector, Lord revealed that under the DTTI three short-term projects, two mid-term projects and two long-term projects are being discussed.
The senior US official said these projects range from providing small, unmanned aerial systems to lightweight small arms technology and the Virtual Augmented Mixed Reality for Aircraft Maintenance (VAMRAM) system.
It was stated, however, that both sides could not reach an understanding for co-developing jet engines under the Jet Engine Technology Joint Working Group.
"We could not come to an understanding as to what exportable technology would be useful to Indians. That being said, there is an enormous amount of aircraft technology on which we could work on together," media quoted Lord as saying.
For the present, the US and India have agreed to a joint Statement of Intent (SOI) that will deepen defence technology cooperation and inter-operability consistent with the shared national security interests and national laws of both countries.
The ninth DTTI joint group meeting was co-chaired by Ellen Lord and her Indian counterpart Subash Chandra.
The US official also met senior Indian defence ministry and defence research organisation officials.
The US and India Joint Working Group (JWG) is keen to ensure progress on current projects and identify new ones, and in this regard has identified the upcoming 2+2 (dialogue that provides for annual consultations on a range of security and political issues between the foreign and defence ministers of both countries) meeting in December this year in Washington as an opportunity to finalise standard operating procedures.