India to talk fighter jets, unmanned drones, communications systems with the US Defence Secretary

by Jeremy
US Defence Secretary Lloyd J Austin will visit India later this month. (File image)

Deepening of the Comprehensive Global Strategic partnership, military trade, Indo-Pacific, the Quad, and multilateral military drills are some of the significant issues that will be the focus of talks when the new US Secretary of Defence Lloyd J Austin comes later this month.

US Secretary of Defence Lloyd J Austin

The India-US military trade is expected to touch $ 25 billion soon.

Both countries share a vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific. As has been reported, in 2016, the US had designated India as a Major Defence Partner, and this was then, in 2018, elevated to Strategic Trade Authorization Tier 1 status.

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What does this mean?

India will have license-free access to an entire range of military and dual-use technologies, which the US Department of Commerce has regulated.

The military trade with the US companies takes place through the Foreign Military Sales route. So far, the military exchange between the two countries has touched almost USD 20, and in the next couple of years is expected to touch USD 25 billion.

The two countries have inked agreements, including the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), Communications, Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), and the Industrial Security Agreement (ISA).

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Deals expected to be discussed

As was reported in 2020 in Financial Express Online, while the Indian Air Force is looking at 114 fighter aircraft, the Navy has plans to buy around 57of fighter aircraft for its aircraft carrier. As has been reported earlier by Financial Express Online, the US aerospace company Boeing has offered the F15EX for the Indian Air Force’s requirement of 114 fighter jets, and it has also provided the F/A-18 Super Hornet for the Navy’s proposal to acquire 57 new jets.

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