India, US Likely To Sign $3 Billion Defense Deal During Trump’s Visit


Publish Date:
February 24, 2020
Indica News
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India would benefit greatly from a defense deal with the US, according to a Stanford fellow.

“What India needs to do here is partner with a country like US to build a domestic defense industry, and then there is no reason that hundreds of millions and billons going outside of India. It makes the country very vulnerable,” said Dinsha Mistree, research fellow and lecturer, Rule of Law, program, Stanford Law School, said of President Donald Trump’s two-day visit to India.

Mistree said India buying Apache anti-tank helicopters and Seahawks from the US can help, along with navel technology, from Russia.

“But I think if they partner with US for technology, the US is willing to help build sustainability, especially with navy,” Mistree said, adding that “it’s just a matter of easy fit and both the countries can work on it together.”

“Again but India has always been very reluctant to work with the US defense industry. It just needs to materialize,” said Mistree.

Mistree added that India should take advantage the “special trade status for high-end defense technology” bestowed by the Trump administration and play that strategically. “US is willing to work with them (India) in helping their own defense and trade industry more than other countries.”

“There is definitely a scope for cooperation and India hasn’t taken up on it,” he said. “They (India) have the brains and have the talent and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will significantly benefit.”

Mistree believes defense manufacturing is more important than trade given the growing relationship between the two countries.

Mistree said India has already agreed on Milk and chicken import from the US and not to worry on high tariff on Harley Davidson. And milk companies are filing bankruptcy in the US. Dairy milk consumption has fallen more than 25 percent from 2000 to 2018, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, since people are switching to Almond milk etc.

“I think there are other stuff like cultural, visa issue and tax and bureaucracy,” Mistree said. “The two countries are close, but the economic insecurity relations haven’t kept up with the amity from both sides.”

Referring to H1B visas, high-end technology and immigration policy, Mistree said he just doesn’t know it is going to happen on this trip.

He said it’s not clear the Modi government is going to push on those issues too hard. There’s a lot of nitty-gritty that needs to be addressed and resolved.

Mistree believes that the Indian government is thinking more about CAA, Kashmir, and so not much is expected on the US-India economy side.

“The unemployment is 40 years low, and the GDP is below 6 percent. So, with Trump in India he hopes the socio-economy would be again on the forefront, that had off from Modi radar and has been neglected in the last several months,” he said.

“I think everybody would agree he (Modi) has focus on economy policy. So hopefully this trip will help Modi to come back to his agenda and think how to nationalize the economy in a meaningful way,” said Mistree.

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