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Wednesday, June 3, 2015, 21:17

US, India seal deal on military research projects

By Agencies
US, India seal deal on military research projects
US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter (right)walks with Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar after receiving a ceremonial welcome in New Delhi, India, June 3, 2015. (AP Photo/ Saurabh Das)

NEW DELHI - India and the United States have sealed an agreement to jointly develop protective gear for soldiers against biological and chemical warfare, and another on building generators, defence officials said on Wednesday.

The projects were cleared as US Defense Secretary Ash Carter held talks with Indian leaders to expand security ties between the two countries.

While the two projects approved are modest in scale, India and the United States are also exploring collaboration at the higher end of technology, Carter told reporters.

"We have big ambitions, and jet engines, aircraft carrier technology are big projects that we're working very hard on," he said.

Carter is due to sign a new 10-year defence cooperation pact with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parikkar later on Wednesday that will include cooperation in maritime security, another official said.

Both the project on protective clothing for soldiers as well developing the next generation power source for the battlefield will each have $1 million in funding shared equally by the two sides, a US defense official said.

"We've negotiated texts, we've agreed to texts and they'll be signed into effect at the end of this month. We went from flash to bang, meaning from the joint statement in January to agree to and signed texts in just under five months," the official said.

The other two projects under the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative that Carter himself launched before his elevation as defense secretary relate to Raven mini-UAVs and surveillance modules for the C-130J military transport plane.

India is also eyeing US aircraft launch technology for a carrier it plans to build to replace an ageing British warship. The two sides have set up a working group to explore cooperation and the defense official said military officials will meet later this month in the United States.

"We have the pre-eminent aircraft carriers in the world. They are excited about possible collaboration. There are multiple areas of possible collaboration. It's a huge platform," the US official said.

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