India And U.S. Agree On Defense Pact

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Neelam Mathews/New Delhi mathews.neelam@gmail.com

India and the U.S. have agreed on a defense pact that is expected to boost U.S arms sales to India.

In a significant step ahead in bilateral relationship, India and the U.S have agreed to enter into an understanding on the long awaited end-use monitoring (EUM) agreement, which will allow the U.S. government to monitor India's use of U.S.-made military equipment.

The agreement "will pave the way for greater defense cooperation'" U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a joint news conference with Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna.

Indian officials had been objecting to the EUM requirement under the U.S. Arms Export Control Act of 1996, which requires monitoring the use of defense equipment and technology sold to other countries.

Lockheed Martin and Boeing are both competitors in India's 126-aircraft Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) procurement, and the fate of both U.S. defense giant's proposals would depend on the agreement of the EUM. Other contenders are MiG-35, Dassault's Rafale, Gripen and Eurofighter.

Two agreements on science and technology and civil space cooperation, also will be part of the strategic dialogue the two governments have pledged to follow.

"We hope India will approve the liability legislative agreement on science and technology," Clinton said.

The signing of the Commercial Space Launch Agreement (CSLA) will facilitate the launch of U.S. satellites and satellites with U.S. components on Indian launch vehicles.

A new Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA) will cover launches of U.S-owned satellites, academic institutions or third country space agencies and universities that have U.S. equipment on board. The TSA will provide for monitoring by the U.S. to ensure against misuse of equipment.

F-18 Photo credit: U.S. Navy

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