The US and India have made a new pledge to deepen defense industry ties, including by sharing cutting-edge technology, amid a broader campaign by both nations to counter China’s increased assertiveness in the region.
Washington and New Delhi will focus on technologies for intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance, as well as aircraft engines and munitions, a senior US defense official told reporters on condition of anonymity. They also intend to make India a logistics hub for US and partner-nation aircraft and ships.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and his Indian counterpart, Rajnath Singh, announced a Road Map for US-India Defense Industrial Cooperation on Monday after meetings in New Delhi, according to a statement from the Pentagon.
The road map’s goal is to “change the paradigm” for cooperation between the countries’ defense industries and give India access to “cutting edge technologies,” including through the co-production of defense technologies, the Pentagon added in the statement.
The official said the two countries would look at ways to streamline regulations, licensing and export controls, and deepen ties between defense companies.
China will not be named in the text of the road map, the official said, but both countries have sought to counter Beijing’s increasingly aggressive stance in recent years. The Indian military has repeatedly clashed with China’s People’s Liberation Army on the two countries’ disputed border, while the US twice accused China of “risky” maneuvers in air and at sea this week.
The US has advanced similar initiatives in the past, including in 2018 when the Trump administration signed an agreement to bolster military communications and get Indian firms more involved in the US defense-sector supply chain.
The road map is part of a broader US-India initiative on critical and emerging technologies launched in May 2022. It is one of several defense co-production efforts that the US has launched with partners in Asia, including with Japan and Australia.