US and India agree on roadmap for defense industry cooperation

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India and the United States have agreed a roadmap for defense industry cooperation for the next few years, the Indian government said on Monday, a move that is expected to bolster the ambitions of New Delhi defense manufacturing.

Washington is working to deepen its ties with the world’s largest democracy and sees closer military and technological ties with the South Asian country as a key counterbalance to China’s dominance in the region.

The roadmap was finalized during a meeting between US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh.

The deal comes weeks before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to travel to Washington on June 22 for an official state visit and talks with President Joe Biden.

The talks between Singh and Austin had “a particular focus on identifying ways to enhance industrial cooperation”, according to the Indian Ministry of Defense statement.

“Both sides will identify opportunities for co-development of new technologies and co-production of existing and new systems and facilitate increased collaboration between the two countries’ defense start-up ecosystems,” he said.

“In view of these objectives, they have concluded a roadmap for US-India defense industrial cooperation that will guide policy direction for the coming years.”

India, the world’s largest arms importer, depends on Russia for almost half of its military supplies, but has also increasingly diversified its sources to source supplies from the United States, France and other countries. in Israel.

New Delhi also wants global defense manufacturers to partner with Indian companies and produce arms and military hardware in India for local consumption as well as for export.

(Reporting by YP Rajesh; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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