Sunday, June 7, 2015

Carter meets top Indian command sets course for a strategic relationship

Carter visits Delhi sets tone for renewed partnership

    The visiting US defense Secretary Ashton Carter who toured India for two days met Indian delegates and defense officials in Delhi. Carter called on PM Narendra Modi, Raksha Mantri Manohar Parrikar, NSA Ajit Doval and EAM Sushma Swaraj and paved way for a more robust relationship between the countries. During the meet Parrikar and Carter discussed way to strength the strategic partnership the countries share. Carter and Parrikar signed the new framework for the bilateral defense and strategic partnership. The framework will be set the tone for the partnership for the next ten years, co-development and co-manufacturing figured mainly in the discussion. Carter also took forward the decision which the countries had made during US President Obama’s last visit to India. The deals will now be worked under the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) frame work.

India and US also signed agreements for two ground breaking projects under which Mobile Electric Hybrid Power Sources and Protective Ensembles for the troops will be jointly developed. The nations also agreed to renew the help in development jet engines and Aircraft carrier technologies. Several key project details which could help encourage America to participate in ‘Make in India’ campaign were also discussed. America has been one of the strongest supporters for ‘Make in India’ campaign which promises to revolutionize the lacking defense industry. America is also India’s leading defense import partner and has been providing India with state-of-the art technologies over the years. The C-130J Hercules, C-17 Globemasters and the P-8I are some of the finest examples. 

Before arriving to Delhi, Carter landed in INS Dega, Vishakhapatnam. Carter was briefed about the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) operations. Carter’s visit to the Eastern sea board gains significance with America and India teaming up to challenge the aggressive Chinese in the Pacific and Indian Ocean. America has promised to provide India with advanced naval technologies to boost India’s operation under its ‘Act East’ policy. Carter was given a tour of INS Sahyadri, which is one of the most stealth enabled frigate operating under the Indian navy. Indian Officials discussed many things include major deals like EMALS and Joint engine production Technology, First day Carter Lands in the Naval base Vizag and met Eastern Naval Command Officials, and Mad a Tour inside INS Shaydri a Naval Frigate, Next day he went New Delhi and met Indian Defense Minister, Foreign Minister and National security Advisor, after a broad meeting with Indian Defense officials about Possible Developments future Indo-American relationship.

The battlefield operations and capabilities have received a major boost with India and US signing co-development of Mobile Electric Hybrid Power Sources. These hybrid mobile generators are used to power to the battlefield equipments. Indian armed forces were till date using BEL supplied power sources which on worked on conventional fuels. India and US will also develop a next generation protective ensembles which will be crucial in guarding soldiers from biological and chemical attacks. With this the front line soldiers can operate even in potential radioactive scenarios.  

The signed DTTI agreement promises to help improve the already ecstatic relationship further more with its flexible export rules. The DTTI will be the basic framework for US-India to share a platform for the co-developing technologies. DTTI is poised to be a major contributor to India’s ambitious ‘Make in India’ campaign. DTTI also promises to help India evolve as a leading ‘exporter’ by mastering technologies. Carter was instrumental in materializing DTTI, during his tenure as the Deputy Secretary of Defence Carter had sighted India’s growing and rapidly modernizing Indian defence market. The cumbersome process of ToT under which India has signed several deals will now be made easier under DTTI. More G-G deal can be seen, with India-America countering a common threat in the Asia-Pacific region a stronger relationship is guaranteed.    

Carter took forward the key pathfinder projects India-America had agreed to work upon jointly paving way for more advanced and robust technologies. 
USA had agreed to help India develop hot engines which are apt for operations in the subcontinent conditions. India had earlier constituted the Kaveri engine project which was slated to power the LAC. But the project was curtailed after finding the program economically unviable for the LCA project. The ground was conceived for powering the more powerful AMCA project. USA has now come forward to assist India in developing a hot engine based on the GE supplied engines. USA will now assist India in developing the GE F404 turbo fan jet engines in India which are currently powering the LCA project. US will also help India produce more powerful jet engines that can power the Tejas MK2 and can also serve as a benchmark for the under development AMCA project. US will sell India a few engines off the shelves and the rest will be manufactured in India.

India boosts one of the biggest navies which is in the transition from a regional navy to a blue water navy. With America supporting India in materializing its ‘Act East’ policy, a key part of it would be to help India modernize its navy. America also has realized that the only regional power to check China in its track would be India and India alone. Displaying its trust in India, America has offered the most advanced Electro Magnetic Aircraft Launch Technology (EMALS) to India. EMALS is being currently inducted on the new USS Gerald R Ford class carriers. Indian navy operates STOBAR configuration carriers with which the launch capability is greatly compromised. EMALS will help in launching heavier aircraft with and will be the first flat top carrier of the Indian navy. EMALS is an extremely costly initial investment technology but will be extremely cost effective for operations. Compared to the traditional steam powered catapults the EMALS can launch heavier aircraft more swiftly and with minimal stress on the air frame. India is in the final stages of finalizing designs for IAC-II and will now officially approach USA for the EMALS technology if it chooses for a flat top carrier. Carter also announced that a US team charged with Carrier design would be visiting Delhi in the near future to conduct conclusive talks about the deal.

India has also shown interest in acquiring two Raytheon Sentential Aircrafts for ISTAR(Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance ) missions. ARC currently operates ISTAR aircraft based on Bombardier platform which were redesigned in Israel. India had shown in these aircraft way back in 2011 but a deal was not conceived. The then government had decided to acquire these platforms with the help of Israeli’s. The ISTAR aircraft are an integral part of armed forces. These aircraft will help in pinpoint analysis of enemy location. Britain had used these aircraft to track down the children Boko Haram militants had taken hostage in Nigeria. Further progress in this deal is awaited and be declared in the coming days.       


Editor – Karthik Kakoor  

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