India and the US have reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the multifaceted defence partnership between the two nations, a joint statement of the India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue said.
The pledge includes a comprehensive approach, encompassing extensive dialogues, increasingly complex military exercises, and the acceleration of joint projects initiated under the June 2023 Roadmap for India-US Defence Industrial Cooperation.
"They expressed satisfaction with the pace of cooperation in maritime domain awareness and looked forward to identifying pathways to promote stronger service-to-service ties and share technologies to address an array of maritime challenges, including in the undersea domain," the statement also said.
The Ministers reaffirmed the Roadmap for Defence Industrial Cooperation as a catalyst for strengthening India's capabilities, enhancing its indigenous defence production, facilitating technology sharing, and promoting supply chain resilience.
The Ministers accordingly appreciated the commencement of negotiations for a commercial agreement between General Electric (GE) Aerospace and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to manufacture GE F-414 jet engines in India, it added.
Such partnerships exemplify the type of defence industrial cooperation that the two countries look forward to pursuing as an enduring pillar of the defence partnership.
Looking ahead, the Ministers welcomed the progress achieved towards co-production and co-development of defence systems, noting their mutual interest to co-develop and co-produce ground mobility systems as they bring the two countries' respective defence sectors closer together while enhancing Indian capabilities.
They look forward to additional proposals from Indian and US companies to develop and produce systems in the priority areas established in the Roadmap.
Both India and the US recommitted to spurring investment in India's growing maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) sector, which encompasses aircraft maintenance and mid-voyage repair of US naval vessels.
They welcomed commitments from the US industry to further increase India's MRO capabilities, including for the repair of aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles, the statement also said.
The ministers also pledged to implement commitments made by Prime Minister Modi and President Biden to undertake regular efforts to address export control issues while expanding defence industrial cooperation and supporting India's goals of emerging as a global defence hub.
Both sides look forward to further discussions about export control and technology transfers in the Strategic Trade Dialogue and its affiliated working groups.
The Ministers looked forward to the finalisation of a Security of Supply Arrangement (SOSA), a key priority in the Roadmap, which will further integrate the defence industrial ecosystems of both countries while strengthening supply chain resilience.
The Ministers commended the breadth of partnerships under the India-US Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) since the initiative was launched in June 2023.
The ministers specifically welcomed the Investors Strategy Session convened in New Delhi on November 8, 2023. The event provided an opportunity for private investors to mobilize capital to fund innovation in cutting-edge technology to address critical security needs.
The ministers further welcomed the launch of the INDUS-X Gurukul Education series to enable startups to leverage opportunities in the defence ecosystems of India and the United States.
They also took note of the recent launch of the INDUS-X joint challenges initiative, which will unleash the talent and innovative drive of commercial sectors in both countries to strengthen the respective defence industry ecosystems.
The ministers lauded continuing advances in interoperability, noting that India and the United States are setting up new liaison positions to facilitate seamless communication and cooperation between their armed forces. They welcomed India's full membership in the multinational Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), headquartered in Bahrain.
The ministers also welcomed further discussions to maximise the shared benefits of the Logistics and Exchange Memorandum Agreement (LEMOA) and identify reciprocal steps both countries can take to enhance the reach of their respective militaries.
Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh and Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar welcomed Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin for the fifth India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in New Delhi on Friday.
The ministers noted substantial progress in transforming India-US relations across domains based on trust and mutual understanding. Building upon the June 2023 and September 2023 visits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joseph Biden, the ministers reaffirmed the importance of the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership in ensuring international peace and security.
The ministers also underlined their strong commitment to safeguarding a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific through mechanisms like the Quad. (ANI)