Joe Biden and Narendra Modi have agreed on a defense deal that involves the transfer of US drones and fighter jet engines to India. This agreement is seen as an important step in countering China’s military expansion and marks a significant development in US-India relations.
As part of the deal, US Navy ships will be allowed to dock in Indian shipyards for repairs, which will strengthen defense cooperation between the two countries. President Biden has emphasized the importance of the US-India relationship in addressing the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.
The timing of this agreement is crucial, as the US has expressed concerns about India’s close ties with Russia during the conflict in Ukraine. By strengthening its alliance with India, the US aims to build a network of partnerships to balance China’s influence. A New York Times article by Prof Maya Jasanoff highlights the importance of having India as an ally in what is being referred to as Cold War II with China.
During Narendra Modi’s visit to the US, he spoke to both houses of Congress and attended a special dinner at the White House. The main aspect of the defense deal involves the production of F414 engines by General Electric’s aerospace unit in collaboration with India’s Hindustan Aeronautics. These engines will be used to power Tejas fighter jets.
In addition, India will purchase 31 armed MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones from the US for over $3 billion. The visit also saw agreements in other areas, such as Micron Technology’s plan to set up a semiconductor testing and packaging unit in Gujarat, which is Narendra Modi’s home state. The US has also pledged to facilitate the visa process for skilled Indian workers.Furthermore, India and NASA have agreed to work together on a joint mission to the International Space Station in 2024.