Aerospace Daily-Aviation Week
Nov 8, 2010
FUNDING & POLICY
NEW DELHI – The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO) and Bharat Dynamics Ltd. – the prime production agency for missile weaponry systems – received welcome news Nov. 8 when U.S. officials announced that many of their laboratories have been removed from a restricted-entity export list.
The move was revealed during President Barack Obama’s visit here.
“We welcome the decision by the U.S. to lift controls on export of high-technology items and technologies
to India, and support India’s membership in multilateral export control regimes such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group,” India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said. “We have agreed on steps to expand our cooperation in the space, civil nuclear, defense and other high- end sectors.”
Obama, in his speech to the Indian parliament, reaffirmed the removal of Indian organizations from the restricted entities list. At the same time, he prompted India to open barriers to investment. Foreign
direct investment in defense is currently capped at 26%.
DRDO laboratories no longer on the entities list include the Armament Research and Development Establishment, Defense Research and Development Laboratory, Missile Research and Development Complex and the Solid State Physics Laboratory.
“This is a win-win situation,” a defense ministry official said. “We will now speed up procurement for materials, test equipment and machinery. That should make our projects move faster. On the other hand, U.S. companies will get more business,” he said.
While ISRO indigenized many components following U.S. sanctions in the aftermath of India’s nuclear test in 1998, there is little doubt that as a result it suffered delays in its projects.
An ISRO spokesman said he was awaiting details and would not comment until an official notice was issued on the announcement.
This could be the initial step for companies such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin to work with India on its space programs such as human space flight, another Indian official said.
“This adds a new dimension to the trust and confidence between the two nations,” agreed Boeing-India President Dinesh Keskar.
Also during the presidential trip, about $15 billion in trade deals were announced or showcased, with $9.5 billion of it U.S. export content, supposedly supporting an estimated 53,670 U.S. jobs. Examples include a preliminary agreement on the purchase of 10 Boeing C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft, now in the final steps of formulating a U.S. foreign military sale valued at $4.1 billion.
Other deals showcased
Other deals showcased included the $822 million GE F414 107 engines for the Light Combat Aircraft. And Palantir Technologies, a small Silicon Valley software development firm, announced a strategic partnership agreement with the Maharashtra State Police to conduct a pilot program, whereby Palantir’s end-to-end analytical software platform will be used on a trial basis to identify and alert authorities to security threats.
Massachusetts-based Implant Sciences signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense in January to supply its Quantum Sniffer H-150 trace detection devices to be used by the Indian Army to detect the presence of explosive, bomb-making materials.
- Neelam Mathews