US firms to explore tie-ups with DRDO, HAL

February 8th, 2011 - 10:59 pm ICT by IANS  

ISRO Bangalore, Feb 8 (IANS) A US business delegation, including firms keen on the defence, space and communication sectors, is here to explore opportunities for tie-ups with institutions like DRDO and ISRO during the AeroIndia international air show beginning Wednesday.

Led by US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, the delegation’s efforts come after the US recently removed India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) from the entity list that bans hi-tech exports.

In a clear shift in the economic ties between the two countries after US President Barack Obama’s visit to India last November, 24 companies are in Bangalore to hold discussions with DRDO’s laboratories and defence production unit Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on trade possibilities in defence, space and communication technologies.

Locke, who arrived here Tuesday, told reporters that the American business delegation was here “to explore opportunities” with DRDO and HAL.

“The removal of these laboratories and institutions from the entity list, we believe, is a huge symbol of enhanced cooperation between the two countries,” he said while replying to a question in this regard.

On much more serious international issues such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, US Ambassador to India Timothy A. Roemer said the two governments were working on two tracks.

One was a permanent seat for India in the UN Security Council and the removal of institutions from entity list and the other regarding international groupings in which India could be a part of.

“We will come to it and you will see it happen in a year or two,” he said.

On the controversial bilateral Communications Interoperability and Security Memoradum of Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA) that India was reluctant to sign, Roemer said it was up to the Indian government to decide when it wanted to enter into these foundational agreements.

“The US enters into these agreements only with closest allies, particularly our NATO allies. It would also ensure a lot of super technologies to flow. It is the Indian government that will decide and we are not pushing it,” he added.

Addressing an aerospace seminar Monday, India’s Defence Minister A.K. Antony had referred to what he claimed was second grade technologies being transferred to India as part of the defence deals.

Asked about the remark, US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro gave the example of the medium multi-role combat aircraft tender, in which American companies were offering the latest technology “at an unprecedented level,” to stress that the US was offering the “most desirable technology”.

Shapiro also noted that the civil nuclear agreement too was for high technology transfers.

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