US Wants To Make Indo-American Helicopters, To Make Ties Stronger


India and America have one way to fight terrorism and the American ambassador is also think so. Lately, American ambassador Kenneth Juster arrived India and has found defence and counter-terrorism ‘a key pillar’ of Indo-Us cooperation.

Thursday, 11th January marked as the day of his first speech in New Delhi where in his speech, he said, “In little more than a decade, US defence trade with India has expanded from virtually nothing to over 15 billion dollars and includes sales of some of America’s most advanced military equipment.”

US ambassador Kenneth Juster

The American ambassador also hinted the wish list of US for the next wave of arms selling to India which includes, “fighter aircraft production; and the co-development of next-generation systems, including a Future Vertical Lift platform or Advanced Technology Ground Combat Vehicles.”

The senior official has publicly mentioned the proposal to co-develop helicopters and this is the first time something has been presented by any official. He also backed the offer of Lockheed Martin to build the F-16 Block 70 fighter in Indian and also Boeing’s offer to build its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter for the Indian Navy. The proposal included to co-create combat helicopters (Future Vertical Lift Platform) or unmanned ground vehicles (Advanced Technology Ground Combat Vehicle).

Combat Helicopter

Such discussions have been taken place on within the Defence trade and technology initiative (DTTI) which is a high-level US-India joint forum so far. DTTI forum is for overcoming bureaucratic hurdles and exploring new initiatives. According to the ambassador, the co-development of autonomous combat vehicle would provide a major impetus to the relationship of India and US.

The US ambassador Juster is very well known the limit for extending trust through co-development projects as he has been working on the relationship of India and US since 2000, “I want to emphasize that the United States is more than just another [arms] supplier… We seek to assist India’s efforts to build up its indigenous defence base and capabilities, as well as enhance the interoperability of our two forces as major defence partners in the Indo-Pacific region.”

India HAL Light Combat Helicopter

Juster while explaining that both countries together organize single-service practice together said, “It is time to consider a multi-service exercise, perhaps focused on humanitarian aid and disaster relief… [in order to] increase our comfort, ease, and confidence in working together.”

Russia is the only country with which India is in a tri-service exercise Indra. Also, three wings Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force had sent troops to participate in tri-service exercise Indra 2017 with Russian military in October 2017.

Exercise Indra

The US ambassador demanded to increase military-to-military exchanges to familiarize the operations between the two countries. “Over time, we should expand officer exchanges at our war colleges and our training facilities, and even at some point post reciprocal military liaison officers at our respective combatant commands,” he said.

Washington is encouraging the capital city of India to build the position of a senior military officer, who is responsible for South Asia: Hawaii’s US Pacific Command (PACOM) headquarters, and the Central Command in Tampa ( CENTCOM) Florida.

F-16IN Block 70

As per the Kenneth Juster, there are five pillars namely defence and counter-terrorism; economic and cultural relations; energy and the environment; science, technology and health; and regional cooperation that tied India and US in a relationship.

“India and US both have a strong interest in promoting peace, security, and prosperity… [by] supporting Afghanistan’s National Unity Government and helping build that country’s democratic institutions,” Juster said about US’s growing disenchantment with Pakistan and changing approach in Afghanistan.