India, US agree to identify joint defense projects in a year

India, US agree to identify joint defence projects in a yearWASHINGTON: As part of their effort to enhance defense engagements, India and the US have agreed to identify areas of cooperative and collaborative projects in advance defense technologies and systems in the next one year.

Applauding bilateral defense cooperation and expressing satisfaction with the progress achieved to date in defense relations, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama in a joint statement yesterday emphasized the need for more intensive defense cooperation on both sides.

The two leaders, post their meeting at the White House on Friday, endorsed a Joint Declaration on Defense Cooperation as a means of enhancing their partnership in defense technology transfer, research, co-development and co-production.

“The two sides look forward to the identification of specific opportunities for cooperative and collaborative projects in advanced defense technologies and systems, within the next year,” the Joint Declaration on Defense Cooperation said.

The two countries share common security interests and place each other at the same level as their closest partners, the joint declaration said.

The same principle will apply with respect to defense technology transfer, trade, research, co-development and co-production for defense articles and services, including the most advanced and sophisticated technology, it said.

The declaration said the both countries “will work to improve licensing processes, and, where applicable, follow expedited license approval processes to facilitate this cooperation. The US and India are also committed to protecting each other’s sensitive technology and information”.

The US said that it continues to fully support India’s full membership in the four international export control regimes, which would further facilitate technology sharing.

“The two sides will continue their efforts to strengthen mutual understanding of their respective procurement systems and approval processes, and to address process-related difficulties in defense trade, technology transfer and collaboration,” it said.

Obama welcomed India’s decision to participate in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) naval exercise hosted by US Pacific Command in 2014.

The two leaders, in the spirit of their continuing non-proliferation cooperation, reviewed the close cooperation of the US-India to realize New Delhi’s intention of joining the multilateral export control regimes. Obama also reaffirmed the US support for India’s early membership in these groups, the declaration said.

Looking ahead to the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, the two nations will seek to deepen their cooperation through the 2010 Memorandum of Understanding with India’s Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership, to strengthen global nuclear security.

The two leaders also called for expanding security cooperation between the India and the US to address 21st century challenges in the areas of counter-terrorism, cyber, space, and global health security. -PTI

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