India and the USA reaffirm their commitment to deepen and diversify their ‘Major Defence Partnership’
New Delhi: Sharing the view that global governance must be more inclusive and representative, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, today reaffirmed his support for a reformed United Nations Security Council (UNSC) with India as a permanent member.
In this context, Biden welcomed India’s candidature for the UNSC non-permanent seat in 2028-29, in the course of his bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the latter’s official residence here today.
A joint statement released after the bilateral talks overall had 29 points covering issues ranging from a reformed UNSC to a Defence partnership, cooperation between the two countries in Space, multi-institutional collaborative education partnerships, the MoU between Indian universities, represented by the Council of Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT Council), and the Association of American Universities (AAU) to establish the India-U.S. Global Challenges Institute, with a combined initial commitment of at least US$10 million, among other things.
Both leaders underscored the need to strengthen and reform the multilateral system so it may better reflect contemporary realities and remain committed to a comprehensive UN reform agenda, including through expansion in permanent and non-permanent categories of membership of the UN Security Council.
Prime Minister Modi and President Biden also reaffirmed the importance of the Quad in supporting a free, open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific. Prime Minister Modi looked forward to welcoming President Biden to the next Quad Leaders’ Summit to be hosted by India in 2024. India welcomed the U.S. decision to co-lead the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative Pillar on Trade Connectivity and Maritime Transport, further to the U.S. decision to join IPOI in June 2023.
Prime Minister Modi and President Biden reaffirmed their commitment to deepen and diversify the India-US Major Defence Partnership through expanded cooperation in new and emerging domains such as space and AI, and accelerated defence industrial collaboration.
The leaders welcomed the completion of the Congressional Notification process on August 29, 2023, and the commencement of negotiations for a commercial agreement between GE Aerospace and Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) to manufacture GE F-414 jet engines in India, and recommitted to work collaboratively and expeditiously to support the advancement of this unprecedented co-production and technology transfer proposal.
They further applauded the conclusion of a second Master Ship Repair Agreement, with the most recent agreement signed by the U.S. Navy and Mazgaon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, in August 2023. Both sides recommitted to advancing India’s emergence as a hub for the maintenance and repair of forward-deployed US Navy assets and other aircraft and vessels. The leaders also welcomed further commitments from the US industry to invest more in India’s maintenance, repair, and overhaul capabilities and facilities for aircraft.
The leaders further commended the India-US Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) team for establishing a robust collaboration agenda to harness the innovative work of the U.S. and Indian defence sectors to address shared security challenges. INDUS-X convened the inaugural Academia Start-up Partnership at IIT Kanpur, with the participation of Penn State University, and initiated the Joint Accelerator Programme for Indian Startups, through a workshop led by US accelerator M/s Hacking 4 Allies (H4x) and IIT Hyderabad in August 2023. Both sides also welcomed the announcement by the Indian Ministry of Defence’s Innovations for Defence Excellence and the US Department of Defense’s Defense Innovation Unit to launch two joint challenges, which will invite start-ups to develop solutions to shared defence technology challenges.
President Biden also welcomed the issuance of a Letter of Request from the Ministry of Defence of India to procure 31 General Atomics MQ-9B (16 Sky Guardian and 15 Sea Guardian) remotely piloted aircraft and their associated equipment, which will enhance the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities of India’s armed forces across all domains.
Moreover, the United States reiterated its commitment to working together with India in the quantum domain, both bilaterally and through the Quantum Entanglement Exchange, a platform to facilitate international quantum exchange opportunities; and welcomed the participation of India’s S.N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Kolkata, as a member of the Quantum Economic Development Consortium. It was also recognized that the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay joined the Chicago Quantum Exchange as an international partner.
The leaders reiterated their support for building resilient global semiconductor supply chains, noting in this respect a multi-year initiative of Microchip Technology, Inc., to invest approximately US$300 million in expanding its research and development presence in India and Advanced Micro Device’s announcement to invest US$400 million in India over the next five years to expand research, development, and engineering operations in India. The leaders expressed satisfaction at the ongoing implementation of announcements made in June 2023 by U.S. companies, Micron, LAM Research, and Applied Materials.
Furthermore, sharing a vision of secure and trusted telecommunications, resilient supply chains, and global digital inclusion, Prime Minister Modi and President Biden welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Bharat 6G Alliance and Next G Alliance, operated by Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions, as a first step towards deepening public-private cooperation between vendors and operators. They further acknowledged the setting-up of two Joint Task Forces focused on collaboration in the field of Open RAN and research and development in 5G/6G technologies. A 5G Open RAN pilot in a leading Indian telecom operator will be undertaken by a US Open RAN manufacturer before field deployment. The leaders continued to look forward to the participation of Indian companies in the US Rip and Replace Programme; President Biden also welcomed India’s support for a Rip and Replace pilot in the United States.
– global bihari bureau