Puneet Talwar Calls for Strengthening of DTTI to Increase Defence Trade Between US and India

December 03, 2014

New Delhi: Calling for greater cooperation between India and US in Defence Trade, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, United States Mr Puneet Talwar today said that both nations have reaffirmed their strategic commitment to pursue opportunities for co-development and co-production in defence sector, taking defence cooperation to the next higher level. Mr Talwar was delivering a talk on ‘US-India Defence Relations and Areas for Cooperation, including Defence Trade’ at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) on December 3, 2014.

“Since the signing of India-US Bilateral Framework in 2005, our defence relationship has become the central pillar of our strategic partnership”, Mr Talwar said. Both US President Obama and PM Modi have welcomed the decision to renew the framework and have agreed to integrate the ‘political and military dialogue’ that will be convened on December 4, 2014, added the US diplomat.

Highlighting the upward graph of defence trade between the two nations that has grown from “from near 0 to nearly 10 billion dollars” since 2008, Mr Talwar insisted that the US sees defence cooperation with India as “an investment in the future together”. The US aims at moving to co-development and co-production of defence equipment, where both the nations could develop and benefit, he stated.

Modernising of export licensing system could be the best way to improve bilateral defence trade and one way of doing it is through the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) which would reduce bureaucratic roadblocks and expedite technology sharing and research, insisted Mr Talwar. “The DTTI, through its emphasis on co- production and co-development, complements PM Modi’s ‘Make in India Initiative’” said Mr Talwar.

Strong bilateral defence ties would also underpin global trade and commerce, benefiting the international community at large, creating more employment opportunities, said the US diplomat.

Speaking on the importance of US’ relationship with India, he said that for the past six months India has been the top destination for senior US govt officials. PM Modi’s invitation to US President Obama for India’s Republic Day was described as an “unprecedented step”, making President Obama not only the first US President to attend India’s Republic Day celebrations but also the first president to visit India twice in his presidential tenure.

Praising India for its positive leadership in global arena, Mr Talwar said “India has a vital, positive and uplifting role to play - In South Asia, in the Indo-Pacific and increasingly on the world stage,” adding that “India’s rise as a regional and global leader and its economic and strategic role are deeply in the US interest.”

Mr Talwar also had a word of praise for India’s role in global counter-piracy efforts. “India has also taken great strides to secure waterways and trade routes in the sub continent,” he said, adding that India has shouldered global responsibility not only in maritime security but also in peace keeping efforts. In the past six decades, India has been one of the top contributors to global peace keeping operations. India’s contributions will serve as an example to many other nations around the world, he said.

Encouraging educational exchanges between military professionals through International military education training programmes, he said that the US looks forward to broadening military to military interactions not only at the leader to leader level but also at the student to student level. “The US, together with India is proud to hold more than 50 annual military exercises among all the services to train the troops and to encourage them to work together.”