Strengthening Relationships in the U.S.-India Defense Sector
A Changing Landscape
Over the last two decades, the United States and India have had an evolving relationship in the defense industry. Motivated by stability and common industrial alliances, India has been designated one of the United States’ Major Defense Partners since 2016.2 In 2018, India was elevated to Strategic Trade Authorization tier 1 status, meaning India can receive license-free access to a range of military dual-use technologies regulated by the Department of Commerce. Despite original equipment manufacturers desire to be more involved in government contracts with the Government of India, there are restrictions from both sides that inhibit sales.
Since 2008, the U.S. and India have signed defense contracts over $20 billion.
When Opportunity Meets Strategy
In close coordination with the U.S. Consulate Hyderabad, BCIU and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organized a two-day conference focused on strengthening U.S.-India defense partnerships, specifically in the areas of joint research, development, and co-production of high-end defense technology and equipment.
BCIU utilized its well-versed understanding of the U.S.-India trade ecosystem to leverage the conference as an opportunity to connect the U.S. Government, the Government of India, U.S. equipment manufacturers, India’s private sector, Defense Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), and universities. BCIU collaborated with the other conference organizers on the agenda and to ensure the right stakeholders participated in and attended the programming. And during the conference, the Consulate’s Public Affairs team coordinated the press engagement at the conference, including two press conferences.
Ultimately, the goals of the conference were three-fold: to drive greater strategic alignment between these global powers, ensure U.S. prosperity in supporting trade and investment, and to provide for the common defense. On all three fronts, we made critical progress.
- Jeff Donald, Senior Director, National Security, BCIU
A Real Difference
Since the implementation of the U.S.-India Defense Ties Conference, there have been several developments in the U.S.-India defense relationship. After President Trump’s visit to India in February 2020, he announced a $3 billion defense deal between the two countries and India’s cabinet approved a $2.6B acquisition of Lockheed Martin naval helicopters. Additionally, Longbow Limited Liability Company, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman Corporation, received a post-production maintenance contract for up to $235.8 million.
The value of a stronger defense relationship cannot be overstated: it brings greater stability in the region, more opportunities for economic growth and cooperation between industries, and supports greater agility to respond to emerging challenges.
- Mr. William Blair, Vice President and Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin India