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Defence cooperation: India to place liaison officers in US commands

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden along with high-level officials at the 'Expanded Bilateral Meeting' in White House, Washington DC, on June 22, 2023. (Photo: PIB)

WASHINGTON (PTI): To increase defence cooperation and deepen critical information sharing, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joe Biden have agreed to place three Indian liaison officers in US commands.

The US and India advanced steps to operationalise tools that will allow the two nations to increase their defence cooperation, the White House said on Thursday following summit talks between President Biden and PM Modi.

The two countries have "resolved to strengthen undersea domain awareness cooperation. The agreement to place three Indian liaison officers in US commands for the first time – deepening our partnership and critical information sharing", it said.

The US and India have also commenced negotiations for a security of supply arrangement and a reciprocal defence procurement arrangement that will enable the supply of defence goods in the event of unanticipated supply chain disruptions, the White House said.

They have finalised a Defense Industrial Roadmap that provides policy direction to defence industries and enables co-production of advanced defence systems as well as collaborative research, testing, and prototyping of technologies that will determine the future of military power, it said.

In a joint statement following the talks, President Biden and Prime Minister Modi appreciated the strong military-to-military ties, mutual logistics support, and efforts to streamline implementation of foundational agreements.

"They noted that information sharing and placement of liaison officers in each other's military organisations will spur joint service cooperation. They also reiterated their resolve to strengthen maritime security cooperation, including through enhanced underwater domain awareness," the joint statement said.

The leaders welcomed the launch of dialogues in new defence domains, including space and artificial intelligence, which will enhance capacity building, knowledge, and expertise, it said.

"Both sides are committed to addressing any regulatory barriers to defence industrial cooperation. The leaders also noted the decision of India's Ministry of Defence and the US Department of Defense to commence negotiations for concluding a security of supply arrangement and initiate discussions about reciprocal defence procurement agreement," the joint statement

President Biden and PM Modi also welcomed India's emergence as a hub for maintenance and repair for forward deployed US Navy assets and the conclusion of master ship repair agreements with Indian shipyards.

This will allow the US Navy to expedite the contracting process for mid-voyage and emergent repair.

As envisaged in the Defense Industrial Roadmap, both countries agree to work together for the creation of logistic, repair, and maintenance infrastructure for aircrafts and vessels in India, the statement said.

According to a White House Fact Sheet, the US Navy has concluded a master ship repair agreement with the Larsen and Toubro Shipyard in Kottapuli (Chennai) and is finalising agreements with the Mazagon Dock Limited (Mumbai) and the Goa Shipyard (Goa).

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