India Seeks 22 Armed Drones from U.S.

Within days of having entered the Missile Technology Control Regime backed by President Obama, New Delhi has expressed interest in buying Predator drones from San Diego, California-based General Atomics through the Foreign Military Sales program.

Defense News reports that according to an official of the Indian Ministry of Defense,  a Letter of Request (LoR) for the purchase of 22 of the unmanned aircraft system for the Indian Navy was sent to the U.S. on June 17.

Drone

The Indian Navy will use the Predator drone, which can fly at an altitude of 50,000 feet, for maritime surveillance and to safeguard its maritime assets in the Indian Ocean, both east and west coast, said an Indian Navy official. These drones have the capacity to fly non-stop for more than 24 hours and monitor the movement of objects as small as a football, sources said.

 

 

 

June 29, 2016   No Comments

Defense Alignment Between India and U.S. Accelerates

DefenseNews reports that the Obama administration has made strengthening ties with India a priority, and this has been highlighted by the focus Defense Secretary Ash Carter has had on the South Asian nation. Ashley Tellis, a former State Department official now with the Carnegie Endowment, calls the recent state visit of Prime Minister Modi, “a culmination of what Obama has tried to do since he came into office.”

“This is one of the biggest, fastest moving defense relationships in the world, period,” said Frank Wisner,  ambassador to India under President Clinton, and now with the international law firm Squire Patton Boggs. He added later, “We have an interest in an India that is robustly armed. India is not a predatory power, and she is big enough and important enough that she helps anchor the balance of power in Asia. A good relationship with India is part of a good relationship with China.”

Obama and Modi

With this focus, the Pentagon has grown increasingly open to technological development programs with India. The core of the technology relationship between the two nations is the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, a specialized program launched in 2012 and championed by Carter, then deputy defense secretary.

India is seeking help from the U.S. in two importent areas: engine technology for its proposed homegrown advanced medium combat aircraft, and an electro-magnetic aircraft launch system for the proposed homegrown aircraft carrier INS Vishal. India is also in the market for high-end, secure communications gear for her troops, and here Wisner sees potential for a deal for a U.S. firm to install, operate and maintain such equipment.

The biggest opportunity for the nations to work together will materialize if India selects an American fighter to become the backbone of the Indian Air Force, and if this happens, Tellis says, “I think the game changes because then you will have major defense cooperation on a scale we have never seen with the U.S.  It starts with buying 90 planes but probably ends up with manufacturing 200 airplanes in India. That is big. So I think that is something we will have to wait and see what happens.”

June 20, 2016   No Comments

Attend Regional Convention of Overseas Indians, Los Angeles November 2015

Persons of Indian origin and Indo-philes alike are welcome to attend the 2015 Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas  (Overseas Indians) Convention hosted in Los Angeles for the very first time.

Sushma  Swaraj,  India’s External Affairs Minister who also runs the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs inaugurates the Convention at 6:00 PM on Saturday evening, November 14 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel followed by dinner.  Discussions resume next morning, Sunday from 9 am until 5 PM.

Sushma Swaraj & John Kerry , September 2015

Sushma Swaraj & John Kerry , September 2015

Register for just $50 per person or $75 per couple.  Here is the registration link http://www.rpbdla.org/registration

“RPBD Los Angeles 2015”  is subtitled  “The Indian Diaspora: Defining a New Paradigm in India-US Relationship”, capturing the ethos of ongoing US-India relationship and the role played by the Indian diaspora. Amritt’s Gunjan Bagla will moderate one of the sessions.

Morning Discussion on

  • Smart Cities
  • Skill Development
  • Infrastructure Development
  • Waste Management
  • Swachh Bharat (Clean India)
  • Renewable Energy
  • Digital India
  • Cleaning the Ganges River

Lunch at 1 PM

Afternoon discussions on

  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Education, Skills & Vocational Training
  • Manufacturing

Other details are avaialble at http://www.rpbdla.org/

Note that the OIFC Business Meeting on Saturday, November 14 requires separate registration and is free.

 

November 7, 2015   No Comments

House Favors Defense Cooperation with India

Coming in the wake of the defense framework advanced by President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment in mid-May calling for expansion of the U.S.-India defense cooperation and welcoming India’s role in providing security in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.

The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act 2016 was moved by a bipartisan group of Congressmen including Joe Crowley, Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus; Eliot Engel, Ranking Member of House Foreign Affairs Committee; Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; and the two Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on India  Dr. Ami Bera and George Holding.

What they said according to The Economic Times:

Crowley: Our amendment makes clear that the U.S. Congress stands firmly behind expanding and moving our defense relationship forward as we strengthen our overall strategic partnership with India.

Engel: This amendment, which has bipartisan support, reiterates that our partnership with India is far and wide in scope, from shared security in the Indo-Pacific to expanded scientific collaboration in clean energy and space exploration.

Ed Royce: Front and center in this critical partnership is our increasing defense cooperation, which was further cemented by renewing our Defense Framework Agreement. This amendment puts the House on record supporting further cooperation between the U.S. and Indian armed forces

Bera: Continued cooperation in defense benefits both our countries as we draw down in Afghanistan and deal with terrorism around the world.

Holding: I am encouraged by the progress made thus far by the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative and I strongly support continued defense collaboration between the United States and India for years to come.

June 5, 2015   No Comments

India Reports “forward looking” Talks with U.S. Nuclear Energy Advance Team

Ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit to India in late January 2015, a meeting of a US-India contact group took place in New Delhi to have discussions on civil nuclear cooperation.

The negotiators included U.S. industry representatives from GE-Hitachi and Westinghouse and counterparts from the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, as well representatives from India’s Department of Atomic Energy, Ministry of External Affairs, and the Finance Ministry.

The Ministry of External Affairs press release said talks were “positive and forward looking.”

Progress between the two sides have been thwarted in the past by U.S. industry objections that India’s Civil Liability Damage Act contains components contrary to the International Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, an international fund first adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency in 1997.

Two sections of India’s law, 17b and 46 allow for lawsuits against suppliers, while the Convention addresses indemnification regardless of who or what is to blame for a radiological incident.

During Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Washington in September the two leaders affirmed their intentions of implementing the original deal forged by  former Indian PM Manmohan Singh and former President George W.  Bush.

December 21, 2014   No Comments