Pentagon creates India cell to boost defence ties

18 September 2015

The Pentagon has established a special cell to boost its defence ties with India and accelerate the process of co-development and co-production of hi-tech military equipment in the country.

The first-ever country specific facility inside the Pentagon, the India Rapid Reaction Cell (IRRC) is headed by Keith Webster, director, International Cooperation Office of the under secretary of defence for acquisition, technology and logistics.

IRRC was established soon after US defence secretary Ashton Carter assumed Pentagon's leadership in February.

The cell is currently manned by seven persons, representing various wings of the US Department of Defence. The cell is being expanded now, say sources.

The IRRC will work on the initiatives that are ongoing under the India-US Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) as enunciated in the joint statement issued by US President Barack Obama and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi in January to move quickly and timely on the initiative.

A series of high-level exchanges are scheduled to take place, including that of defence minister Manohar Parrikar to the Pentagon.

India-US defence and strategic relationship would be a key topic of discussion when Obama meets Modi on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York later this month.

The India Rapid Reaction cell has taken special interest in accelerating DTTI projects and has started the process to send some new proposals to India for co-production and co-development.

The mobile hydroelectric initiative and for-the-next- generation initiatives required negotiations, conclusion and signing of bilateral agreements.

Established in January 2015 to focus exclusively on advancing the DTTI, IRRC looks at ways of transforming bilateral defence relationship without any bureaucratic obstacles, move away from the traditional buyer-seller dynamic to a more collaborative approach, explore new areas of technological collaboration and expand the US-India business ties.

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