Manohar Parrikar to visit US, further defence collaboration expected

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will undertake a key visit to the US this week during which he will take forward the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) as both countries work towards greater collaboration in joint development and manufacture of next-gen military tech.

Parrikar will leave for the US on December 4 and will return on December 12, ahead of the Combined Commanders’ Conference on board aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya on December 15, defence sources said.
During his meeting with American counterpart Ashton Carter, both are set to review the joint working group on aircraft carrier under DTTI as well as identify technologies that could be acquired by India on government-to-government basis.

In a clear signal of India’s importance, both as a major buyer and potential collaborator in the defence sector, Pentagon has established its first-ever country special cell to speed up defence ties between India and the United States. Established soon after Defence Secretary Carter assumed Pentagon’s leadership in February, India Rapid Reaction Cell (IRRC) is headed by Keith Webster, Director, International Cooperation Office of the Under Secretary of Defence for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

India is the only country to have a specific cell of its kind in Pentagon. Currently, seven persons are working on this cell, representing various wings of the US Department of Defense. Both Parrikar and Carter are also expected to discuss possible programmes under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

US’ Lockheed Martin has already offered its planes in line with the government’s push for ‘Make in India’. A forward movement is also expected in India’s decision to acquire 145 pieces of M777 Ultra-Light Howitzers from the US under a government-to-government deal that would see its manufacturer BAE Systems investing over USD 200 million in India as offset.