Interaction on DTTI with Keith Webster
Printer-friendly versionSend to friend
20160429- interaction-on-dtti-with-keith-webster.jpg

On April 6, 2016, the VIF and the US India Business Council hosted Mr. Keith Webster, Director, International Cooperation for the US Under Secretary of Defense Acquisition, Technology and Logistics at the Pentagon for a Round Table discussion on the current state of US-India defence relations and specifically to assess how far the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) has moved in recent months. Welcome remarks were made by Ben Schwartz, Director Defence and Acquisition, USIBC.

In his opening remarks, that set the tenor for the discussion, Director VIF, Gen NC Vij, outlined the technicalities of US-India defense relations. He explained that an enabling environment now exists in India and the time was ripe for India and the US to genuinely move forward with some key announcements in defence. He outlined the following salient points:

a. The GOI has allowed US Companies to select their own partners from among the Indian Corporate sector.

b. FDI is no longer a problem either. It is 49% and can go upto 100% where core, cutting edge technology is shared.

c. Time is an important element in the conclusion of important defense deals and the US too should adopt a top-down approach – as was done during the nuclear deal - in clearing projects with India as there are distinct benefits to the US too.

d. India is not seeking outright transfer of technology but only a Joint Manufacturing model which has advantages for both.

e. Speed of engagement is an important element.

Others who spoke in the Experts Panel were: Dr. KD Nayak, Director ANURAG, DRDO, Mr. Dhirendra Singh, Former DG (Acq), MOD, Mr. Sudershan Kumar, former Chief Controller R&D, DRDO, Lt. Gen JP Singh, former Deputy Chief of army Staff and Air Marshal Manmohan Bahadur, former Assistant Chief of IDS. The Industry perspective was given by Mr. Pratyush Kumar, President Boeing India, Mr. Sudhir Sharma, Head – Defence, Ashok Leyland, Mr. Nikhil Khanna, President Raytheon India, Mr. Phil Shaw, CEO, Lockheed Martin, Mr. Ketan Makhania, Head – Defence India, Cyient, and Mr. Ankur Gupta, Vice President, Ernst & Young.

The discussion was a very frank and candid one. The Indian participants mentioned that India remains committed to the concept of DTTI as a means of co-developing critical strategic technologies from the US that will help move India’s defence industrial ecosystem towards self-sufficiency, addressing critical technological needs, and it therefore looks upon DTTI as the route to meeting India’s huge modernization needs. This thinking is primarily driven by the core ‘Make in India’ perspective, the main purpose of which is to ‘manufacture or assemble’ big-ticket projects in India with technology absorption from abroad.

India has identified a number of key technologies as its core areas of interest; some of these are, anti UAV systems, advanced UAV technologies in MALE and HALE class, advanced smart weapons e.g. Raytheon Paveway IV LGB, ship based point defence, nuclear propulsion, joint production of 115, KN gas turbine engines, I-CANN, Mirror servers – internet governance and root servers for net centric warfare etc.

But what have so far been offered to India under the DTTI are not the transformative technologies that India seeks. A positive environment does exist and both countries and their leadership have invested political capital to lay the foundation of a strong and sustainable relationship. Defence, security and technological cooperation is an essential part of these relations. As far as Defence and Security Cooperation is concerned progress on DTTI is critical. Towards this end, DTTI pathfinder projects, including the establishment of the Working Groups on Aircraft Carrier Technology and Jet Engine, and the growing cooperation between U.S. and Indian defense industries through the "Make in India” initiative are welcome steps in the right direction and more such areas should be identified to take this engagement between India and the United States to the next level.

Event Date 
April 6, 2016
Contact Us