Defense deal, 3 MoUs and more to strengthen Indo-US ties during Trump’s visit to India

indica News Bureau-

India and the United States finalized a defense deal worth $ 3 billion during US President Donald Trump’s visit to India on February 25, along with signing 3 memoranda of understanding (MoU), including a pact on the energy sector. 


As the leaders of sovereign and vibrant democracies recognizing the importance of freedom, equal treatment of all citizens, human rights and a commitment to the rule of law, Modi and  Trump vowed to strengthen India-U.S relation. Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, anchored in mutual trust, shared interests, goodwill and robust engagement of their citizens. 


They pledged to deepen defense and security cooperation, especially through greater maritime and space domain awareness and information sharing; joint cooperation; exchange of military liaison personnel; advanced training and expanded exercises between all services and special forces; closer collaboration on co-development and co-production of advanced defense components, equipment and platforms; and partnership between their defense industries.


Reaffirming his pledge to support the transfer to India of advanced U.S. military technology, Trump welcomed India’s recent decision to procure MH-60R naval and AH-64E Apache helicopters. These capabilities will advance shared security interests, job growth and industrial cooperation between both countries. As India works to acquire new defense capabilities, President Trump reaffirmed India’s status as a ‘Major Defense Partner’ affording it the highest consideration for procurement and technology transfer purposes. The leaders looked forward to early conclusion of defense cooperation enabling agreements including Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement.

“These will enhance our joint defense capabilities,” said Trump, as they addressed the media after finalizing the deal.


Modi and Trump resolved to enhance the security of their homelands through cooperation and to jointly fight international crimes like human trafficking, terrorism, and violent extremism, drug-trafficking and crimes in cyberspace.  


They welcomed the decision by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and India’s Ministry of Home Affairs to reinvigorate the Homeland Security Dialogue. 


As a demonstration of their shared commitment to combating the threat that illicit drugs pose to their citizens, they announced their intent to establish a new Counter-Narcotics Working Group between their respective law enforcement agencies.


Modi and Trump recognized the increasing importance of the trade and investment dimension of the India-United States relationship and the need for long-term trade stability that will benefit both the American and Indian economies.

“I’m optimistic we can reach a deal of great importance to both countries. Since I took office, the US exports to India are up nearly 60 percent and the exports of high-quality American energy have grown by 500 percent”, said Trump on Tuesday.


Modi and Trump welcomed growing links between India and the United States in trade and investment in hydrocarbons. Through their Strategic Energy Partnership, India and the United States are seeking to enhance energy security, expand energy and innovation linkages across respective energy sectors, bolster strategic alignment, and facilitate increased engagement between industry and other stakeholders.


India and the United States are committed to an open, reliable, and secure Internet that facilitates trade and communication. India and the United States recognized the need for an innovative digital ecosystem that is secure and reliable and facilitates the flow of information and data.  


Apart from the defense deals, Trump said they discussed the importance of a “secure 5G wireless network” and the need for this emerging technology to be a tool for freedom, progress, prosperity, not to do anything with where it could be even conceived as a conduit for suppression and censorship.


The two premiers noted the potential for the U.S. to meet India’s goal to diversify its import base for coking/metallurgical coal and natural gas, welcoming recent commercial arrangements intended to accelerate access to LNG in the Indian market. They also encouraged the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and Westinghouse Electric Company to finalize the techno-commercial offer for the construction of six nuclear reactors in India at the earliest date.


They welcomed an endeavor by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for development and launch in 2022 of a joint mission with the world’s first dual-frequency Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite, and applauded discussions that advance cooperation in Earth observation, Mars and planetary exploration, heliophysics, human spaceflight, and commercial space cooperation. 


In support of global efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to disease outbreaks such as novel COVID-19, Trump and Modi committed to continuing their successful efforts in the areas of prevention, early detection, and rapid outbreak response. They hailed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that seeks to promote access to high quality, safe, effective, and affordable medications for Indian and U.S. consumers. They welcomed the conclusion of an MoU which will help both countries address mental health challenges through innovative approaches.

The United States appreciates India’s role as a net provider of security, as well as developmental and humanitarian assistance in the Indian Ocean Region.  India and the United States remain committed to sustainable, transparent, quality infrastructure development in the region. Trump and Modi welcomed the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation’s (DFC) announcement of a $600 million financing facility for renewable energy projects in India, and the DFC’s decision to establish a permanent presence in India this year.


Taking note of their countries’ shared commitment to advancing effective development solutions in the Indo-Pacific and globally, Modi and Trump look forward to a new partnership between USAID and India’s Development Partnership Administration for cooperation in third countries.  


India and the United States took note of efforts towards a meaningful Code of Conduct in the South China Sea and solemnly urged that it not prejudice the legitimate rights and interests of all nations according to international law.


They also decided to strengthen consultation through the India-U.S.-Japan trilateral summits; the 2+2 Ministerial meeting mechanism of the Foreign and Defense Ministers of India and the United States; and the India-U.S.-Australia-Japan Quadrilateral consultations, among others.  Modi and Trump looked forward to enhanced maritime domain awareness sharing among the United States, India, and other partners.   


President Trump reaffirmed the support of the United States for India’s permanent membership on a reformed U.N. Security Council. He also reaffirmed U.S. support for India’s entry to the Nuclear Suppliers Group without any delay. 


India also expressed interest in the concept of the Blue Dot Network, a multi-stakeholder initiative that will bring governments, the private sector, and civil society together to promote high-quality trusted standards for global infrastructure development.  


President Trump welcomed India’s role in continuing to provide development and security assistance to help stabilize and provide connectivity in Afghanistan. The two nations support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process that results in sustainable peace; cessation of violence; elimination of terrorist safe havens; and preservation of the gains of the last 18 years.


Modi and Trump called on Pakistan to ensure that no territory under its control is used to launch terrorist attacks and to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of such attacks, including 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot. They called for concerted action against all terrorist groups including Al-Qa’ida, ISIS, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Hizb-ul Mujahideen, the Haqqani Network, TTP, D-Company, and all their affiliates.