The ninth India-US Defence Technologies and Trade Initiative (DTTI) group meeting is scheduled to happen in New Delhi next week. On Friday, a statement issued by the US Department of Defence said that the value of bilateral defence trade between the two countries is estimated to reach USD 18 billion later this year. “The United States is committed to strengthening its partnership with India while furthering military-to-military relationships and cooperation,” the statement said.
In August 2018, the US granted to India the designation of Strategic Trade Authority Tier 1 or STA-1, “providing India with greater supply-chain efficiency by allowing US companies to export a greater range of dual-use and high-technology items to India under streamlined processes.” This authorisation is the equivalent of NATO allying with Japan, South Korea and Australia.
The DTTI initiative is led by Undersecretary of Defence for Acquisition and Sustainment, Ellen M Lord from the United States and Secretary for Defence Protection, Apurva Chandra from India. “I personally have seen an uptick in the pace of movement in India, the willing to — willingness to engage, and we truly are developing some new capabilities together for production in India, as well as to be produced here,” Lord was quoted as saying in the statement.
According to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, DTTI came about to expedite the scope of cooperation on defence technology that become narrow due to the presence of differing bureaucratic processes and legal requirements. Essentially, DTTI is an initiative to provide “increased US senior level oversight and engagement to get beyond these obstacles.”
While DTTI is not a treaty or law, it is a flexible mechanism to make sure that senior leaders from both countries are engaged consistently to strengthen the opportunities in the field of defence. Its central aims include strengthening India’s defence industrial base, exploring new areas of technological development and expanding U.S.-India business ties.
In February 2018, the eighth session of DTTI was held in New Delhi and was co-chaired by Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff Vice Admiral A K Jain and Acting Director, International Cooperation Mr Matthew Warren. During this meeting, Jain had said that India’s defence industry was in a growing stage and that India was looking to acquire niche technology in manufacturing defence weapons and equipment.