India pushes to hasten U.S. defence deals amid election rush
New Delhi: According to the latest updates between India and US defence talks, we find India pushing towards hastening a deal with the United States to buy Predator drone aircrafts for military surveillance, which is one of several defence and nuclear projects both the sides are working in the final months remaining of the Obama administration.
Latest input notes on India's request for numerous predator guardian drones to be at an advanced stage of negotiation with hopes for progress so that only administrative tasks would remain by the time President Barack Obama leaves the office.
Washington has also given New Delhi access to high-end military technology, such as a new system to launch planes off aircraft carriers, and leaned on other countries to give India membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime, which cleared the way for the sale of the unarmed Predator.
India's military has also asked for the armed version of the Predator to help target suspected militant camps in Pakistan but U.S. export control laws prohibit such a transfer.
Jeff Smith, director of Asia Security Programs at the American Foreign Policy Council noted: "The administration is eager to get as much done as is humanly possible. They believe the conditions and the personnel in both capitals are uniquely favourable at the moment, and are eager to consolidate and institutionalize the progress."
With Trump closing in on the picture, much uncertainty clouds India-US defence relations. Trump, who has been noted to be oscillating between affirmative and negative attitudes towards Asian countries like Japan and South Korea, on the backdrop of Chinese pre-eminence, does not present a hopeful outlook for India as well.
Trump's adviser Walid Phares, an American scholar and expert on Islamist radicals and counter-terrorism, however, said India had no reason to worry.
"With India, there is the ongoing partnership against terror and both countries have suffered from jihadi urban attacks. One can only project cooperation," Phares said.
The centrepiece of the military collaboration is the help the United States is giving India in developing its biggest indigenously developed aircraft carrier as well as the flight launch technology which would allow heavier planes to take off from them.
In June, the United States reached agreement on exchanging confidential information on development of carriers with India – its only non-treaty ally with such an arrangement.
"They have already started helping us on our first indigenous carrier, in terms of certification, quality testing," said the Indian government official. "The challenge will be to sustain the momentum over the next decade."
In August, Modi government signed a logistics agreement giving each country access to the other's military bases, after 10 years of negotiations. Also on the table are two other defence agreements, one on securing communications and the other on sharing spatial data that Washington has been pushing for.
Modi has shown he won't hesitate to "reach down and choke someone," to get things done, Smith at the American Foreign Policy Council said, quoting a Pentagon official.
(Source: in. reuters/ article by Sanjeev Miglani and Rupam Jain)
(Featured image source: internet)