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US wants to share defence tech with India: Official

WASHINGTON (PTI): Hoping to get a bigger slice in the pie of massive Indian defence modernisation efforts, the US has said the level of its willingness to share defence technologies with India has never been higher than it is now.

"The level of our willingness to share technology with India has never been higher," Andrew Shapiro, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, said.

The US bid for Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) -- which had failed -- demonstrated its willingness to transfer some of these technologies, he said.

In a wide ranging-interview to a group of Indian journalists, Shapiro, who last week held the first India-US PolMil dialogue in six years, said the US is willing to share best of its technologies with India and that the India-US defence sale and purchase is not a buyer-seller relationship.

The US is interested in providing India with the best technology it has, he said.

In the last 10 years the defence trade between the two countries has increased from virtually nil to $8 billion.

"Next decade, sky is the limit. We think, we have the best defence products in the world. India is interested in modernising its military across all the services.

"We think we have competitive technology and defence articles that would be able to serve their needs for each of their services," Shapiro said, but hesitated to put a number on the figures.

"From India any company that apply for licences are denied for less than one per cent of the time. That is comparable to our closest partners around the world," he said, adding the figures are that of last year.

Further, the processing time has decreased from 30-40 days on an average to just 17 days, he added.

"We are willing to sell defence articles to India and the refusal rate is very low," he said. "We demonstrated our willingness to share high technology items. But there still have some shibboleths to work through the Indian system of working with the US and their willingness to work with our system," Shapiro said.

One of the bottlenecks that "I am willing to overcome is the idea that our foreign military sales (FMS), which is our government to government sale can't be used in a competitive bidding contest.

"Our FMS bids include life cycle cost and maintenance costs... so it comes in a little higher than others. By law, we cannot make profit on FMS sales. So it's corruption proof.

You are getting the best price," he said.


US  India  Defence  

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