Britain keen on sharing defence technology with India

February 16th, 2008 - 9:23 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Gordon Brown

New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) Positioning itself as the world’s second largest arms exporter, Britain said Saturday it would be only too happy to share its defence technology with India for the mutual benefit of both countries. “Technology is playing an increasing role in today’s military hardware. We would be only too happy to share this with India’s defence industry,” A.J.D. Pawson, head of Britain’s Defence Export Services, told reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing DEFEXPO-2008 international military exposition here.

“Our relations with the Indian armed forces are historical. We need to take these further,” Pawson said.

In this context, he noted that Britain’s share of the $60 billion global arms exports during 2007 was $20 billion.

“This reinforces our position as the second largest arms exporter after the United States,” Pawson pointed out.

The partnership theme had featured prominently at the fourth India-Britain Defence Industry Symposium here Friday, with British Deputy High Commissioner Creon Butler saying “India should raise the FDI (foreign direct investment) limit in the defence sector to 49 percent from 26 percent”.

According to Butler, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s recent visit to India “will take our relationship to a new level.

“India plans to meet 70 percent of its defence equipment needs domestically. Thus, there are tremendous possibilities for partnerships with the Indian industry,” Butler said, adding that British companies were working closely with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and other R&D organizations of India.

Speaking on the occasion, Air Vice Marshal Gavin Mackay, senior military adviser to the British Defence Export Services Organisation, said: “India and the UK share a passion for engineering. We need new alliances to compete in the new world order.

“We can take advantage of each other’s technological skills. We are willing to enter joint licensed production arrangements with Indian companies,” Mackay added.

With 20 companies participating, Britain has a major presence at DEFEXPO-2008 to demonstrate its industrial capabilities and technology to potential customers and partners in India and the wider region.

In addition, a British Army demonstration area showcases a range of equipment covering peacekeeping, border security and explosive ordinance disposal activities.

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