Officials from the United States and India announced on Tuesday that they are taking actions to enhance their defence relationship. This is a demonstration of their cooperation in the face of China’s growing assertiveness. As a result of their meetings in Washington, both countries have agreed to enhance their collaboration on military industries and coordination in the Indo-Pacific region. The White House stated that one of the key focuses of their partnership is to work together on the development of jet engine and military munitions technology. The US government will also accelerate its review of General Electric’s application to construct jet engines in India for use on Indian aircraft.
The fact sheet mentions that operationally, the US and Indian armed forces aim to increase their capabilities in maritime security, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. The US Deputy Secretary of Defence, Kathleen Hicks, informed the Indian National Security Adviser, Ajit Doval, that forming alliances and partnerships is a crucial goal for the Pentagon in the region’s growingly competitive strategic environment. According to Hicks, establishing these partnerships is a major objective of the US’ 2022 National Defence Strategy, which considers China as a growing multi-domain threat.
As China continues to strengthen its military presence near Taiwan and Japan, which is a key US ally, India’s forces have encountered conflict with China’s military along the Line of Actual Control, the poorly defined boundary located in the high Himalayas between the two nations.
The US, India, Japan, and Australia are part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (known as the Quad), a security-focused informal group that has been around since the early 2000s but has become more active lately as a response to China’s territorial claims and reach in the Indo-Pacific region. Last May, during a Quad summit in Tokyo, President Joe Biden of the US and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India introduced the US-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET). This week’s meetings were the first under this initiative and brought together government officials, industry leaders, and top academics from both countries. The White House fact sheet stated that in addition to defence technologies, the US and India will work together to expand international cooperation in areas such as artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and advanced wireless.