Top Pentagon official arrives


New Delhi
Top Pentagon official Frank Kendall arrived here today to give final touches to bilateral military-related content, especially Defence Trade and Technology Initiative, ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit.

Kendall, Under Secretary of Defence for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L), arrived here to hold discussions with Indian officials to come up with some "concrete" deliverables.

He is the Pentagon's point person on India-related defence issues, in particular on the India-US Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI).

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His primary objective is to continue momentum on DTTI, which promotes collaboration on defence technology and enables co-production and co-development of critical defence systems.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had earlier in the day said expansion of DTTI with the US can be expected during the high-profile visit.

Obama is arriving here on January 25 and will be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day parade.

Refusing to get into specific projects, Parrikar said discussions on defence issues are in final stages.

"At this moment, nothing can be confirmed. Let the finality come. In the next two-three days, the teams will finalise. It would then be approved by the Prime Minister," he said.

In a speech a few months ago, Kendall had said building India-US defence relationship is a central element of the so-called shift or rebalance to Asia and the Pacific -- a core component of the new Defence Strategic Guidance, the Defence Department had announced in January 2012.

Under DTTI, India and the US are working on identifying some of the high-tech defence items for co-development and co-production, which the US official describes as "unprecedented".

In addition to working together on specific programmes, DTTI also includes an effort to expand cooperation in science and technology.

"We have discussed increasing the scale and strategic focus of our existing individual project research agreements in areas of mutual interest," Kendall had said in his address to the US India Business Council last year.

DTTI, he said, is just one facet of an initiative to build a deeper, closer, and broader relationship with one of the most important countries.

First Published: Jan 21 2015 | 9:25 PM IST

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