Hagel: Ground-Breaking US-India Defense Cooperation

During his state visit to India, President Barack Obama unveiled a series of bilateral agreements with the Indian government, including defense and security initiatives. In a joint statement released on Jan. 25, Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted plans to expand defense cooperation and improve technology sharing. The two leaders encouraged their two nations’ militaries to deepen cooperation through “exercises, military personnel exchanges, and defense dialogues,” states the document. In a separate statement, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called the announcements “ground-breaking.” The agreements “promise to open a new chapter in our defense relationship and mark an important milestone in the U.S.-India strategic partnership,” he said. Among the developments, the two nations renewed their 10-year framework for defense cooperation and established a military education partnership. They also agreed to focus on four pathfinder projects under the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, form a working group to explore aircraft carrier technology sharing, and explore possible cooperation on development of jet engine technology. With this, “we will begin to realize the enormous potential of the US-India defense industrial partnership,” said Hagel. The announcements signal new “depth and sophistication” in US-India defense and security cooperation, he added.