India and the United States on Wednesday held the fourth round of dialogue on cooperation in high technology, with New Delhi saying that it was exploring areas for collaboration in technology transfers, co-production, joint development and research in the field of defence.
Welcoming the first meeting of the Defence Procurement and Production Group of the two countries in October, foreign secretary Shyam Saran said, "We are currently exploring contours of cooperation that include technology transfers, co-production, joint development and collaborative research."
Addressing the opening session of the Fourth India-US High Technology Cooperation Group Meeting, he said efforts were underway in India to foster growth of the private sector in defence and Indian companies can become active participants in the global supply chains of major defence vendors.
"Partnerships and investments encouraged by our offset policy may be expected to contribute to that trend," Saran said.
Noting that there had been concerted efforts to increase dialogue with Indian defence acquisition community, US Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security David McCormick said the meetings between the two countries have shared common theme of more communication, more clarity in the procurement policies of India and the US and more transparency in how procurement decisions are made.
"I have no doubt that there is much more that can be done to reduce the barriers to trade in this area to take the US-India defence trade relationship to unprecedented levels," he said.
Saran said the technology initiatives unveiled during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent visit to Washington were reflective of the changing nature of ties between the two countries.
"Our partnership is expected to benefit not only from shared values and similar practices but equally from our ability to complement each other," he said.
Observing that the linkages and interactions between the knowledge-enabled aspects of the economies of the two countries would acquire greater significance with time, Saran said, "For the initial phase, we have largely fulfilled our regulatory responsibilities and created an enabling structure for high-technology commerce to expand."
On the Indo-US nuclear agreement, Saran said India had improved preventive enforcement capabilities, conducted outreach programmes and embarked on technical exchanges in support of its export control goals.
Noting that the nuclear agreement was premised on New Delhi's impeccable record in non-proliferation, Saran said, "It not only recognises that non-proliferation is better served with India as a partner, but also sends a clear message that India cannot be a partner and a target of technology denial regimes at the same time."
McCormick said, "The US is deeply committed to the emerging global partnership with India, and we are working hard to make sure that the message is clear: our commitment goes beyond mere words."He said it was imperative that the outcome of the dialogue at the meet was turned into action.