`India should appoint its point person for defence tech talks`

The new Indian government needs to appoint its point person for holding talks with the US on the path-breaking Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI), a former top Pentagon official has said.

PTI| Last Updated: Aug 08, 2014, 12:32 PM IST

Washington: The new Indian government needs to appoint its point person for holding talks with the US on the path-breaking Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI), a former top Pentagon official has said.

"One of the biggest things would be a true Indian counterpart for the DTTI and an embrace on the Indian side of coming up with ideas for breakthrough collaborations in co-production and co-development," Vikram J Singh, who till recently was former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, told PTI.

The Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Frank Kendall, who was recently appointed as the American point person to leads the DTTI, would soon be visiting New Delhi.
"He should see everyone involved, but should also have a designated counterpart, someone empowered by the (Indian Defence) Minister and the National Security Advisor," said Singh, who is currently the vice president for National Security and International Policy at the Centre for American Progress, an eminent US think-tank.

Noting that the status of India-US defence ties "are fine", Singh, however, said but both the countries could get much more out of the defence security relationship with a little effort.

Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, is in New Delhi to hold talks with his counterpart Arun Jaitley, and other leaders of the new government.
Singh hoped Hagel`s visit would result in reaffirmation of the American commitment to India`s strong, independent rise as a world power.

During his meetings, Hagel would explore India`s interest in true collaboration on DTTI; and explore what more the US can do operationally and multilaterally, for example with Japan and Australia and European partners, he said.

Referring to the fact that Hagel goes to Australia after India, Singh said: "US-India-Australia cooperation in defence is an important opportunity."

Closure on pending defence sales that have been languishing like M777 would be a good signal, he said.

Observing that India`s defence modernisation has fallen far short of its potential, Singh said: "A modern, highly capable Indian military is something the United States views as good for the region and the world."

The US can be a great partner in this, he added.