Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin lauds ties with India, calls jet engine deal revolutionary


Lauding the partnership with India, the US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that the deal between the two nations to produce jet weapons in collaboration is revolutionary. Underscoring that India and the US are also co-producing an armoured vehicle, Austin said that such joint ventures will provide great capabilities.

The landmark jet engine deal was revealed in June of last year, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic official state visit to the US. To produce fighter jet engines for the Indian Air Force, General Electric and Hindustan Aeronautics signed a memorandum of understanding.

Austin’s remarks came as he testified before the Senate panel on the 2025 budget on Wednesday.

“We have a great relationship with India. We recently have enabled India to produce jet weapons in India. That is kind of revolutionary. That will provide great capabilities to them. We are also co-producing an armoured vehicle. All of these things when you add them up, are probably more than what we have seen in half of that region in a very long time,” Austin told lawmakers.

He stated that all of this “promotes interoperability.”

“They all promote helping increase our ability to respond to a number of different things. Again, these are meaningful things that most of us are not aware of. We have made tremendous progress, and we will continue to do so,” he added.

Earlier in 2023, US General Electric (US GE) announced that it had inked an agreement with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the government’s aerospace and defence manufacturing firm, to jointly manufacture engines in India to power fighter jets for the Indian Air Force.

Moreover, the Biden Administration notified the US Congress in February this year, of its intent to sell nearly $4 billion worth of arms, comprising mainly of the MQ 9 B Drones armed with Hellfire missiles. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, within the US Department of Defense, said in a press release that the sale helps strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship. It added that New Delhi continues to be an “important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region.”

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