Following their third summit meeting, U.S. President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday announced their countries would co-develop advanced defense technology.
Obama and Singh "emphasized the need for more intensive defense cooperation on both sides," according to a joint statement released following their White House talk. The two men also endorsed a Joint Declaration on Defense Cooperation "as a means of enhancing their partnership in defense technology transfer, joint research, co-development, and co-production."
Earlier this month, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the United States wanted to collaborate with India on producing a new generation of Javelin anti-tank missiles and an Electro Magnetic Aircraft Launch System for the aircraft carriers that India might one day possess, Jane's Defense Weekly reported.
This month's agreement on stepped-up defense cooperation was enabled in large part by the 2008 bilateral civilian-atomic cooperation agreement, which opened up the Indian energy market to exports from U.S. atomic companies. In return for access to U.S. nonmilitary nuclear technology, New Delhi promised to segregate its civilian and military atomic operations and to place the nonmilitary sites under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.
At an earlier summit in 2010, Obama agreed to remove a number of major Indian space and military-associated organizations, including four branches of the Indian Defense Research and Development Organization, from the Commerce Department's Entity List. Foreign entities on the list are accused of proliferation activities and typically must be granted a special export waiver in order to import non-sensitive U.S. products.
Some of the Indian agencies removed from the Entity List in 2010 can be expected to be involved in future U.S.-India defense technology cooperation.
New Delhi and Washington anticipate in the next year identifying "specific opportunities for cooperation and collaborative projects in advanced defense technologies," according to Friday's Joint Declaration on Defense Cooperation.
Obama and Singh reaffirmed their commitment to the full implementation of the 2008 atomic trade deal and applauded the signing of an initial contract between U.S. firm Westinghouse and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India to build an atomic power reactor in Gujarat, according to the joint statement.
The United States also renewed its full support for India becoming a member of four international export control bodies that seek to curb the spread of weapons of mass destruction-related materials.