India-US defence relation has reached a milestone, with accordance of ‘Major Defence Partner’ status to India. Under the US National Defence Authorisation Act, the status underlines expanding military engagements, increased defense trade and greater cooperation on technology development.
- Easy transfer of technology:It will help India avail technology transfers to moderniseit’s defence industry by easing licensing requirements to acquire sensitive military technologies by US firms. Eg: Technologies for F-16 and F-18 fighter jets would be easily transferred.
- Promote defense indigenization: Easing licensing for military and dual-use items would help promote ‘Make in India’ at a time India is considering to build F-18 and F-16 fighter jets.
- Institutionalizing defence cooperation:This tag follows the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) between India and US, which allowed both countries to avail services from each other’s military bases are steps towards increased military cooperation.
- Growing interests of USA in Asia:This move signifies US’s aims to befriend India and counter China’s aggression in South and South East Asia, which has great economic and strategic value.
- Furthers India’s case for entry into multi-lateral export regime:
Though it does not provide a blanket exception for circumventing multilateral export control regimes but it is a step forward by India to enter multi-lateral export groups like NSG, Australian group, etc.
Thus this step ensures that bilateral defence cooperation is institutionalized and enshrined in American law. And this unique opportunity holds greater significance with prospects of furthering India’s soft power.