Despite Opposition, India Signs Defense Deal with U.S.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel

The U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel expressed his satisfaction Sunday over the new defense cooperation with India.

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi have announced agreements on defense cooperation between India and the United States during Obama’s ongoing visit in India as the chief guest for India’s Republic Day today, January 26.

Meanwhile, six Left parties in India – the CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML)-Liberation, AIFB, SUCI(C) and RSP – protested against Obama‘s visit in India.

The political parties say it is a supreme irony that the day which symbolizes India’s independence and sovereignty is being graced by the head of a country which has done the most to assault and destroy the sovereignty of many countries around the world.

Opposition parties in India believe that the decision to renew the India-U.S. Defence Framework Agreement will yoke India to American military strategy in Asia.

[ Also Read: President Barack Obama Not Welcomed in India ]

However, in his statement Hagel observed that the defense cooperation promises to open a new chapter and mark an important milestone in the U.S.-India strategic partnership.

This renewed framework will support stronger military-to-military engagement, including deeper maritime cooperation and increased opportunities in technology and trade, Hagel said.

Under the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) the partnership will focus on four “pathfinder” projects; form a working group to explore aircraft carrier technology sharing and design; and explore possible cooperation on development of jet engine technology.

“We will begin to realize the enormous potential of the U.S.-India defense industrial partnership. We have further strengthened this partnership with an agreement that will allow us to continue science and technology collaboration for the next 15 years,” said Hagel in the statement.

Photo courtesy: U.S. Department of Defense

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Rakesh Raman