Manohar Parrikar will head for his first official visit to the US as defence minister later this week to discuss a slew of proposals for co-production of top-notch military equipment as well as bolstering maritime security, counter-terrorism and intelligence-sharing between the two countries.
While Parrikar leaves for the US on December 4, his “substantive” meetings with his American counterpart Ashton Carter are slated for December 9-10. “Parrikar will raise the issue of the US continuing to supply advanced weaponry to Pakistan, even as the latter continues to indulge in sabre-rattling with tactical nuclear weapons and keeps the terror infrastructure alive on its soil,” said a source.
Having already bagged Indian defence deals worth over $13 billion since 2007, with several others being in the pipeline, the US is keen for India to ink two bilateral “foundational agreements” that have been kept pending for long.
The contentious military pacts, the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) and the Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum Agreement (CISMOA), were kept in cold storage by the previous UPA agreement, with the then defence minister A K Antony being staunchly opposed to them.
After the NDA government came to power last year, and the inking of the new 10-year India-US defence framework agreement and joint vision statement for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region earlier this year, Washington has renewed its thrust on the two pacts. “Some discussions have taken place,” the source said.
The LSA envisages the two militaries providing logistics support, refuelling and berthing facilities for each other’s warships and aircraft on a barter or an equal-value exchange basis. CISMOA, in turn, is touted to be a “technology enabler” that will smoothen transfer of high-tech avionics and electronics to India from the US.