Friday, September 12, 2014

Straight Talk- US, Bring the 'Co' back into Co-production

Neelam Mathews
Sept 12, 2014

Our beloved Jasjit Singh must be smiling benevolently at many sessions of the recently held CAPS-CII conference, as straight talk was the order of the day. Must confess it took many a yawn away!

Thanks to a lively session led by Retd Air Marshal Vinod Patney, who was not leaving any speaker off. Perhaps the one to receive maximum counter queries was Capt Todd Squire, Chief Office of Defense Cooperation,US Embassy, apparently not given too much leeway by his government to indulge in 'small talk'.

“Co-development and production must be ‘co’.  If there is a desire on both sides to co-produce, problems will sort themselves out…or Indians will ask “Do I really need the equipment,  or shall I go elsewhere?...... We have known US to often say: We have our laws, you change yours,”…… said a candid Patney, Director General, CAPS. 

Even as the US takes forward talks on NG weapon production, there are many holdups including India refusing to sign the Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA) agreements. An official from the US Embassy told us these were essential for the transfer of secure and encrypted communication systems aboard US military platforms. So will PM Modi come close to signing the agreements or not is the question. We'll have to wait for all those transfer of weapons programs till then,

Interestingly, I found no Russian company on the dias- was this a slip of the mind or a message to our former largest defense trade partner that things have radically changed? Either ways, always good to have a mix and get different points of view.

Others including Sujeet Samaadar had words of wisdom as he introduced his complex offsets equation, which got its pride of place in his presentation, along with the elephant offsets and snakes and ladders policy!

Finally! Thank You speakers. One consumed far less caffeine during the day long conference than one does in such events. Good for the body and soul.

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