India US Defence Framework Pact and DTTI

India’s formal cooperation with US in the area of defence started in January 1995, when the Agreed Minute on Defense Relations between the two nations was signed. This led to the establishment of a Defence Policy Group (DPG). Defence Policy Group worked as apex institutional dialogue mechanism for Defence Cooperation between India and United States.  In June 2005, a New Defence Framework Agreement for the U.S.-India Defence Relationship was signed. This document focused on defence trade, joint exercises, personnel exchanges, collaboration and cooperation in maritime security and counter piracy operations, exchanges between each of the Services, etc. In 2015, India and United States have renewed this Defence Framework Agreement for the next 10 years.

India US collaboration in Defence Items

  • INS Jalashwa
  • UH-3H Sea King helicopters
  • C-130J Hercules military transport aircraft
  • Harpoon Block II naval surface missiles
  • P-8I maritime reconnaissance aircrafts
  • C-17 Globemaster III aircraft
  • M777 155mm Light-Weight Towed Howitzers
  • Boeing Apache Helicopters
  • Javelin Anti tank Guided Missiles.

Next-generation Raven unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)The US defence technology is the most advanced. Also, the purchase of US weapons comes with high restrictions. US is known to share the high-end defence technology with very few allied nations such as UK.  India is among eight countries where US defense exports are not restricted. This status has facilitated the defense technology transfer from US to India, which is generally under tight control for other countries.  The most important element within the Defence Framework Agreement is the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).  Originally, it was called the “Carter Initiative” after the name of U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter. Its main objective is to strengthen defence cooperation by facilitating the Indian companies to  collaborate with US partners in defense co-production, where the US provides technology and guidance for building modern weapon systems. It is important because co-development and co-production under DTTI may become the hallmark of the Modi government’s ‘Make-in-India’ initiative.
Under the renewed pact four key “pathfinder projects” for joint development and production have been identified in 2015 under the DTTI. These are:

  • Intelligence-gathering and reconnaissance modules for C-130J Super Hercules aircraft
  • Mobile electric hybrid power sources
  • Chemical, biological warfare protection gear for soldiers (technically called uniform integrated protection ensemble increment-2)

The renewed agreement would enhance the bilateral defence partnership between the two countries.
DTTI is not a treaty or law but aims to strengthen India US cooperative research, co-production, and co-development of capabilities that are needed for the sustainment and modernization of our military forces and the growth of our economies.

India’s interests in US Defense Technology

India’s interest in US Defence technology is mainly on technology transfer. The reason is that when we purchase the arms, we need support. If at any point, US denies of support, it can cripple critical equipments. When we opt for technology transfer, we have the knowledge of why and how of that equipment so it is less susceptible to a denial of support from the vendor.  India acknowledges the technological superiority of the US weapon systems but it seeks partnership and not seller-buyer relationship. If we keep Defence relations in perspective, the strategic relationship between India and the US are best.

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