By: Vivek Raghuvanshi
NEW DELHI — India and the U.K. have decided to enhance defense ties based on the joint development and production of weapons at Indian facilities under the 'Make In India' policy. This was decided during a meeting here on Thursday between the visiting U.K. secretary of defense, Michael Fallon, and his Indian counterpart, Arun Jaitley.
"The renewed engagement will place capability and technology development at its core and seek to harness the complementary strengths of both nations in defense manufacturing and use the combined strengths of their respective private and public sectors to develop defense solutions for use in both home and shared export markets," according to a joint statement issued by the Indian Ministry of Defence.
A senior MoD official pointed out that the two countries are devising a mechanism to identify defense projects that could be jointly developed and produced and even exported; however, no blueprint has yest been crafted.
The fate of the Advanced Hawk trainer aircraft, for which the state enterprise Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is the prime supplier for wings, avionics and multifunction display systems, is uncertain, as the Indian Air Force has not committed to ordering the aircraft.
BAE Systems and HAL signed a memorandum of understanding in 2015 to fund the development and production of the trainer with a combat role capability. The aircraft was to be marketed for both the domestic and export market, and it even debuted at the Aero India 2017 show in Bangalore in February.
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