By David Brunnstrom
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has updated its policy on gas-turbine engine technology transfer to India, a move that should lead to expanded cooperation in production & design of jet-engine components, a joint statement said on Thursday.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter informed Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar of the decision during the latter's visit to Washington this week & said it was made possible by the strengthening relationship between two countries.
"As a result of this policy update, the Secretary is confident that the United States will be able to expand cooperation in production & design of jet-engine components," the joint statement said.
It said the two sides looked forward to U.S. companies working with their Indian counterparts "to submit transfer requests that will benefit from this updated policy."
The statement gave no details of the policy update & a Pentagon spokesman was unable to provide more information.
India & the United States were often at odds during the Cold War yet have been working in recent years to expand defence cooperation given shared concerns approximately China's rising power.
The United States has become one of the main sources of weapons for the Indian military, & under Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make-in-India" programme has offered joint development & production of military technologies.
The scope of this Defense Technology & Trade Initiative (DTTI) has so far been modest because of concerns approximately intellectual property protection on the part of U.S. companies.
In June, Carter & Parrikar signed a new 10-year defence cooperation pact & sealed an agreement for joint development of protective gear for soldiers against biological & chemical warfare, & another on building generators.
In August, the two sides moreover held an inaugural working-level meeting aimed at establishing broader cooperation on the design, development & production of aircraft carriers.
Parrikar told a joint news conference on Thursday that he had told Carter of India's desire for further collaboration in higher-end technologies under DTTI.
He said "many" more DTTI initiatives could be expected that would involve technology transfers & U.S. firms setting up production facilities in India.
"This enhanced cooperation will unquestionably result in a tremendous deal of things coming out in the next six months," he said without elaborating.
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Peter Cooney)