Modi, Biden welcome progress in defence ties
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday welcomed the completion of the notification process in the U.S. Congress on August 29 for a commercial agreement between General Electric Aerospace and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) to manufacture GE F-414 jet engines in India and the commencement of the negotiations. The leaders lauded the settlement of the seventh and last outstanding World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute between the two countries.
What was the defence trade agreement between India and the US?
- A deal between General Electric Aerospace and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) will see GE F-414 jet engines produced in India.
- On August 29, the U.S. Congress concluded the notification procedure for this business deal, signalling development in the aerospace and defence industry.
- The Indian Ministry of Defence has sent a Letter of Request to the US to buy 31 General Atomics MQ-9B remotely piloted aircraft and related hardware.
- The objective of this acquisition is to improve India’s capacity for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.
- According to agreements between Indian firms like Larsen & Toubro and Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd. and the U.S. Navy, India is making efforts to establish itself as a hub for the upkeep and repair of U.S. Navy assets that are deployed in advance.
What was the trade dispute between India and the US and how did it get resolved?
- Six unresolved trade issues between India and the United States were settled at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in June 2023. A variety of industries were involved in the disputes, including solar products, renewable energy, steel, and aluminium.
- The disputes included:
- Countervailing measures on certain hot-rolled carbon steel flat products from India
- Measures relating to solar cells and modules
- Measures relating to the renewable energy sector
- India’s export-related measures
- Certain measures on steel and aluminium products
- Additional duties
- 28 US items, including chickpeas, lentils, and apples, were subject to increased customs taxes from India. US tariffs on some steel and aluminium products have increased.
- India has agreed to lower duties on several US goods, including apples, boric acid, chickpeas, lentils, almonds, walnuts, and diagnostic reagents.
- During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent state visit to the US, the disagreements were settled.
- The seventh and final unresolved World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute between India and the United States was resolved, and the leaders applauded this important development in the process of settling trade disputes.
What were the other areas discussed in the bilateral meeting?
- Space Cooperation:
- Efforts are being made to create a working group for India and the US to collaborate on commercial space projects.
- The International Space Station will be the focus of cooperation efforts between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and NASA in 2024. These discussions centre on mechanisms, capacity building, and training. By the end of 2023, they hope to have a strategic framework for collaboration in human space flight.
- Trade and technology:
- With a focus on fostering economic cooperation, India and the U.S. have made headway in resolving trade issues.
- There is interest in India joining the “Trade” component of the Indo-Pacific Economic Forum.
- A crucial component of the bilateral relationship is high technology collaboration, which includes the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET). In September 2023, both nations intend to conduct a midterm review of iCET to maintain momentum leading up to the following annual review in early 2024, which will be jointly headed by their National Security Advisers.
In conclusion, the discussion between Prime Minister Modi and President Biden discussed a number of bilateral cooperation issues, such as joint efforts in the fields of technology, commerce, and space exploration. The leaders placed a focus on advancing India and the United States’ strategic alliance.