U.S. arms technologies come closer
- With U.S. designating India as a Major Defence Partner (MDP), licensing regulations to acquire sensitive military technologies, such as those that go into the F-16 and F-18 fighter jets, will be simplified.
- The designation “institutionalises” the cooperation achieved so far between the two countries.
- This is a unique designation conferred on India, outside the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) countries and U.S. treaty allies such as Australia and Japan.
- The U.S. Congress has passed the National Defence Authorisation Act to enhance defence and security cooperation with India.
- This comes at a time when India is considering proposals for a new fighter aircraft to be built under the “Make in India” initiative, in significant numbers, with technology transfer.
- U.S. aerospace majors Boeing and Lockheed have submitted proposals to build their F-18 and F-16 fighter jets. Saab of Sweden has done so for Gripen.
- The MDP eases the process of licensing for military and dual-use items. It streamlines the process and reduces India’s licensing requirements.
- The designation was envisaged as a way to bring India on the same level as the U.S. treaty allies, in the absence of a formal treaty between two countries.
- The progress achieved under initiatives such as the Defence Technology Trade Initiative (DTTI) and the India Rapid Reaction Cell (IRRC) in the Pentagon would continue in the next U.S. administration as it is now enshrined in the U.S. law.