India and the United States have concluded a roadmap for defense industry cooperation for the next few years, the Indian government said on Monday, a move expected to bolster New Delhi’s defense manufacturing ambitions.
Washington is working to deepen ties with the world’s largest democracy and sees deeper military-to-military and technology ties with the South Asian country as a key counterweight to China’s dominance in the region.
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The roadmap was finalized at a meeting between visiting US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh.
The agreement comes weeks before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Washington on June 22 for an official state visit and holds talks with President Joe Biden.
Talks between Singh and Austin had a “particular focus on identifying ways to strengthen industrial cooperation,” the Indian Defense Ministry statement said.
“Both sides will identify opportunities for co-development of new technologies and co-production of existing and new systems and facilitate increased collaboration between defense start-up ecosystems of the two countries,” it said.
“Towards these objectives, they concluded a roadmap for US-India Defense Industrial Cooperation which shall guide the policy direction for the next few years.”
India, the world’s largest arms importer, depends on Russia for nearly half its military supplies, but has also increasingly diversified its sources to buy from the US, France, and Israel, among others.
New Delhi also wants global defense manufacturers to partner with Indian companies and produce arms and military equipment in India for local consumption as well as exports.
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