As a step towards advancement of greater Defence ties, the US is considering reforms in the United States export control system for sensitive dual-use technology and weapon systems for India. With India continuing as the top arms importer in the world, the US aims to win multi-billion contracts for Defence equipment from India by relaxing these laws. In addition, India’s significant geostrategic location and the growing maritime clout have forced the US to have a greater engagement with India to ensure secure international trade through the sea lanes.
In a recent speech in Washington, the US secretary of Defence Leon Panetta indicated that the US administration is willing to reform its stringent export control system in order to accommodate India. The reason for these reforms is to garner goodwill and bag the multi-billion dollar contracts for arms and ammunition from India. The US will relax its export control for sensitive items and share technology just like other nations to win the lucrative Defence deals.
While the US has already sold $ 8 billion worth of Defence equipment in recent years, it is still licking its wounds after two major US firms lost out India’s $ 12 billion MMRCA deal to France. The US has realized that without relaxing its export control system for dual-use technology, India will carry out deals with countries like Russia and France who are willing to share their technology. As India still remains the top arms importer in the world, US plans to reform its export control system for sensitive dual-use technology and weapon systems for India.
The reform in the export control system for sensitive dual-use technology and weapon systems will be a welcome move for India. With the sale of heavy lift aircraft like C-17 and C-130J to India recently, the US has more than doubled its total foreign military sales (FMS) making India the third largest FMS market. The accumulation of more common equipment is definitely boosting bilateral defense ties between the two nations.
On the other hand, the US has indicated greater engagement with India in order to benefit from India’s maritime presence and its geostrategic location on the sea lines of communication from the Mideast into the Pacific. Since 2006, India has been fighting against maritime threats including piracy, smuggling and trafficking. Hence, the US wants to have solid Defence ties with India to enable secure international trade and commerce through the sea lanes.
During a media conference, Vice Admiral Gerald Beaman, commander of the US Third Fleet as well as RIMPAC 2012, has indicated that India and 21 other nations are participating in what is described as the world's largest international maritime exercise called RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific Exercise). Although India is providing only staff personnel for RIMPAC, the US has said that India’s role holds major significance and a sign of greater engagement between India and US. RIMPAC 2012 is being held between June 27 and August 7 this year.