WASHINGTON, June 23 (PTI) — In an effort to strengthen defense cooperation and deepen key information sharing, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joe Biden have agreed to post three Indian liaison officers at the US command.
The White House said on Thursday after a summit between Biden and Modi that the United States and India had taken steps to implement tools that would allow the two countries to strengthen defense cooperation.
The two countries “determined to strengthen cooperation on subsea domain awareness. For the first time, the agreement sent three Indian liaison officers to the US command – deepening our partnership and sharing of critical information”.
The U.S. and India have also begun negotiations on security of supply arrangements and reciprocal defense procurement arrangements to enable the supply of defense materiel in the event of unexpected supply chain disruptions, the White House said.
They have finalized a defense industry roadmap that provides policy direction for the defense industry and enables co-production of advanced defense systems and collaborative research, testing and prototyping of technologies that will define the future of the military force.
In a joint statement following the talks, President Biden and Prime Minister Modi commended the two countries for their strong military relationship, mutual logistical support and efforts to streamline implementation of the basic agreement.
“They noted that information sharing and the deployment of liaison officers in each other’s military organizations would facilitate joint service cooperation. They also reaffirmed their determination to strengthen maritime security cooperation, including through enhanced subsea domain awareness,” the joint statement said.
The statement said the leaders welcomed the start of dialogue in new areas of defense such as space and artificial intelligence, which would enhance capacity building, knowledge and expertise.
“Both parties are committed to addressing any regulatory hurdles to defense industry cooperation. The leaders also took note of the decision by the Indian Ministry of Defense and the US Department of Defense to initiate negotiations to reach a supply security arrangement and initiate discussions on a reciprocal defense acquisition agreement,” the joint statement said.
Biden and Modi also welcomed India as a center for maintenance and repair of forward-deployed U.S. Navy assets, as well as major ship repair agreements with Indian shipyards.
This will enable the U.S. Navy to expedite the contracting process for in-sea and emergency repairs. The two countries agreed to work together to build logistics, repair and maintenance infrastructure for Indian aircraft and ships, as envisaged in the defense industry roadmap, the statement said.
According to the White House fact sheet, the US Navy has entered into major ship repair agreements with Larsen and Toubro shipyards in Kottapuli (Chennai) and is finalizing agreements with Mazagon Dock Limited (Mumbai) and Goa shipyards (Goa). PTI / LKJ
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