India, US likely to discuss key defence matters tomorrow

New Delhi, Apr 11: India and the US are likely to bargain hard tomorrow on a key logistics support agreement and a "pre-bid guarantee" on transfer of technology in case an American firm bids for 'Make in India' fighter jet programme.

US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter, who arrived here this evening from Goa, will hold delegation-level talks with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar tomorrow.

India, US to discuss defence matters

Freedom of navigation and joint exercises especially in the maritime field are among the issues that will be up on the table.

The two leaders had already met in Goa where Carter arrived yesterday. Besides that meeting, Parrikar today hosted Carter on board India's Russian-made aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya in Karwar.

On the US agenda tomorrow will be three agreements - Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA), Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) - all resisted by the previous UPA government.

However, under the new dispensation, things have changed and India is open to a tweaked LSA which facilitates the provision of logistical support, supplies, and services between the US military and the armed forces of partner countries on a reimbursable basis, and provides a framework that governs the exchange of logistics support, supplies, and services.

Read More:  Ashton Carter begins business leg of India trip

Defence sources said that "progress" has been made with regard to LSA but added it does not mean that it is a done deal. Even as India holds its cards close to the chest, New Delhi has asked Washington to make it clear if American government will stand guarantee for transfer of technology (TOT) if US-based companies were to bid under 'Make in India' fighter jet programme.

"The Americans will have to give pre-bid guarantee if their firm wants to take part in 'Make in India' programme for fighter aircraft. Companies promise moon but at the end, we should not be left with sand in our hands," a defence source said.


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