The new Defense Framework seeks to chart a course for the India – U.S. defense relationship for the next 10 years that will support the broader global partnership that our leaders seek to create.
The new parameters of the defense relationship include cooperation in defense technology, continued joint and combined exercises and exchanges, expansion of defense trade, increased opportunities for technology transfer, collaboration, co-production and R&D.
The primary mechanism to guide defense ties is the Defense Policy Group (DPG) led by Defense Secretary on the Indian side and the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy on the U.S. side. The DPG held its 8th meeting November 2006 in New Delhi.
Sub-groups such as the Defense Production and Procurement Group, the Military Cooperation Group, the Joint Technology Group and the Senior Technology Security Group report to and provide inputs to the DPG. A recently established Defense Joint Working Group met in India this April and discussed policy issues.
The armed forces of the two countries have held a number of joint exercises aimed at enhancing interoperability of all the services. Joint exercises involving the navies, armies and Special Forces of the two countries have been held. A new development this April was the holding of trilateral India-US-Japan naval exercises in the Sea of Japan. During Prime Minister
Singh’s visit to the United States July 2005, the two countries had announced a U.S. – India Disaster Response Initiative to build on the successful experience during the tsunami operations of 2004 and to establish an ongoing effort to prepare for and conduct relief operations in the Indian Ocean region and beyond.
During President Bush’s visit to India in March 2006, the two countries agreed to the conclusion of a Maritime Cooperation Framework to enhance security in the maritime domain, to prevent piracy and other transnational crimes at sea, carry out search and rescue operations, combat marine pollution, respond to natural disasters, address emergent threats and enhance cooperative capabilities including through logistics support. Both sides are working to finalize a Logistics Support Agreement.
The Hot-Transfer of USS Trenton, Landing Platform Dock (LPD) 14 to the Indian Navy (IN) on January 17, 2007 was a significant event. This is the first ship acquisition by India from USA. It will be the first of its type for the Indian Navy. With a displacement of approx. 17,000 tons, the LPD is set to be the second largest ship with the Indian Navy, after the aircraft carrier Viraat.
The ship will add punch to India’s maritime forces with its capacity to participate in naval operations (ops), peacekeeping ops, tri-service ops and humanitarian relief. It has an unrivalled capacity to carry close to battalion strength troops and sustain them over a long duration.
Ambassador Sen commissioned the ship as the INS Jalashwa on June 22, 2007. The ship has now sailed out of Norfolk harbour and will reach India in a few days. In May 2007 the US Administration notified the U.S. Congress of the possible sale of C 130-J transport aircraft to India. This deal is valued at a little over US $ 1 billion.