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Defense Cooperation with India--expanding again.


South Block is part of one of New Delhi's most impressive and imposing building complexes. In this century old red sandstone structure, decisions on the future of the Indian military are made. Two years ago personnel from the Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC) in India had little reason to visit this facility. One measure of the recent transformation in the Indo-United States (U.S.) defense supply relationship is that the South Block guards now know all ODC personnel by name. It was not always this way.

Defense cooperation with India has gone through a cycle of boom and bust over the past forty years. From a high point in the early 1960s with hundreds of personnel, the Office of Defense Cooperation, previously known as the Defense Supply Advisor, almost closed down completely on at least two occasions, one of which followed India's nuclear tests in 1998. Luckily that did not happen, because today ODC New Delhi is a busy and rapidly growing office.

When Lieutenant Colonel Scott Denney learned he would be going to India to head up the ODC three years ago, he anticipated a relatively relaxed assignment, with plenty of time for golf. Today his golf game is no better than when he arrived, and it does not appear as though it will be improving anytime soon. The ongoing transformation in India and U.S. relations began during the watch of the Honorable Robert Black will, U.S. Ambassador to India, and continues unabated today under the leadership of former financier Ambassador David Mulford. What happened in between, and the current state of security cooperation programs with India, are the subjects of this article.

India Overview

The Indus Valley civilization, one of the oldest in the world, dates back at least 5,000 years. Aryan tribes invaded the region from the northwest about 3500 years ago and their merger with the earlier inhabitants created the classical Indian culture. Arab incursions starting in the 8th century and Turkish in the 12th were followed by European traders, beginning in the late 15th century. By the 19th century, Britain had assumed political control of virtually all Indian lands. Non-violent resistance to British colonialism under Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru led to independence in 1947. At that time, the subcontinent was divided in two: the secular state of India and the smaller Muslim state of Pakistan. A war between the two countries in 1971 further resulted in the creation of Bangladesh from East Pakistan. Despite impressive gains in economic investment and a booming high technology sector, fundamental concerns for India include the ongoing dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir, overpopulation, environmental issues, poverty, and ethnic and religious strife.

India is roughly one-third the size of the U.S., with a geography and climate even more varied than that of the U.S., with the Himalayan mountains rising to the north, dense jungles in the east, the deserts of Rajasthan to the west, plains in center and more lush forests in the coastal areas of the south. The diversity of the country is astounding, with entirely different cultures, diets, and languages contained in a nation that has enjoyed more than five decades of democracy. India's population is approximately 1.1 billion (second only to China) with the following religious breakdowns:

* Hindu 81.3 percent;

* Muslim 12 percent (the world's second largest Muslim population);

* Christian 2.3 percent;

* Sikh 1.9 percent, (additional groups including Buddhist, Jain); and

* Parsi 2.5 percent. (1)

Although Hindi is the national language and primary tongue of 30 percent of the people, there are fourteen other major official languages spoken by more than one million people. English is also spoken throughout India and is the lingua franca of national politics, the military and commerce.

India is the world's most populous democracy, with a government consisting of a central parliament and state legislatures, balanced by judiciary and executive branches. Each arm functions independently, although they are intertwined and operate under a national constitution. The President is the supreme commander of all Indian armed forces, but it is the Prime Minister that wields the real power. Under India's parliamentary system, coalition parties are the norm, one effect of which is to moderate governing parties and seek consensus on all issues. The Congress Party defeated the BJP in May 2004, taking control of parliament as part of the national elections that take place every five years.

India's economy encompasses all levels from traditional village farming and handicrafts to a wide range of modern industries and support services including a world class high technology industry. Since 1991, government controls have been reduced on imports and foreign investment, and privatization of government monopolies such as electrical power is proceeding slowly. The economy has grown at an average rate of 6 percent since 1990, reducing poverty by about ten percentage points in the process. India contains large numbers of well-educated English speakers, which has enabled it to become a major exporter of software services and workers.

India is committed to improving its defense posture as well, and has allocated a large portion of its budget to make this goal a reality. Defense spending in the 2005 national budget year is approximately $18.7 billion, an increase of almost 8 percent over the previous year. Of this amount, approximately $7.7 billion has been allocated for capital expenditures, which includes upgrades and new acquisitions. (2) While major recent purchases such as the British Hawk jet trainer, the Israeli Phalcon radar system and the Admiral Gorshkov jump ramp aircraft carrier have taken a sizeable portion of available funding, money is still available for major systems acquisitions.

India's broad strategic goals entail an ambitious modernization program across all of its armed services. The Air Force will receive the lion's share of funding, with plans for new combat aircraft, airborne warning and control systems, and missiles. The Army is destined to get additional tanks and new artillery. The Navy will eventually deploy new Russian-built warships, along with indigenously produced ships, aircraft carriers and submarines. Although India is clearly eager to boost its own arms industry, for the foreseeable future, many "big ticket" items will continue to come from abroad.

Overview of the Indian Military

The security challenges facing India are varied and complex. Listed below are some of the challenges:

* The nation is bordered by nations with nuclear weapons China and Pakistan and a history of conflict.

* Border disputes with these neighbors remain unresolved and lead to periodic tension. The country has experienced four major conventional wars and an undeclared war at Kargil in 1999.

* The country is engaged in a series of internal low intensity conflicts as well as radical terrorist organizations in Kashmir. (3)

Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, maintenance problems have arisen from poor supply of spares from Russia. To confront these challenges, India fields a capable and professional military that is South Asia's largest power. With a primary mission to defend the country's frontiers, the Army, and to a lesser extent, the Navy and Air Force have in the past two decades also become more involved in internal security duties in Kashmir and in the Northeast part of the country to combat the threats described above. The "Kargil War" (fought in the disputed area of Kashmir in India's Northwest) resulted in the Indian Army abandoning its drive to downsize by 50,000 troops and in fact, a new Army Corps was established to defend the Kargil sector. Current military strength figures are shown on the next page.

Sustaining current military modernization programs and maintaining troops in Kashmir (estimated at 500,000 personnel), at the Siaichen Glacier (the world's highest battlefield at more than 18,000 feet), and in India's Northeast border areas is complex and expensive in terms of lives and financial resources.

Indian Security Planning Priorities

India's security environment brings out four key elements fundamental in determining its security planning priorities. The four key elements are listed below: (5)

* The Indian armed forces have a two front obligation, requiring them to safeguard the borders with Pakistan and China.

* India is not a member of any military alliance or strategic group, consistent with its policies of maintaining an independent deterrent capability.

* India's armed forces are more involved in internal security functions than most countries, requiring a commensurate force structure.

* India's interests in the North Indian Ocean highlight the need for a blue water naval capability.

Indian Ministry of Defense

The President of India is the titular supreme commander of the armed forces of the country. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) provides policy framework and resources to the armed forces, enabling it to discharge its responsibility for ensuring the territorial integrity of the nation. An Integrated Defence Staff somewhat akin to the U.S. Joint Staff has recently been created although a decision regarding the designation of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) on par with the service chiefs and our Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has not yet been made.

Indian Involvement in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations

The Indian military has been a very active participant in United Nations (U.N.) peacekeeping operations ever since independence in 1947. India was one of the founding members of the U.N. and has consistently shown great interest in and commitment to the initiatives of the world body towards maintaining global peace and security. Indian excellence in U.N. peacekeeping operations is well known. The nation has participated in thirty-eight out of fifty-eight U.N. peacekeeping missions so far, with nearly 68,000 Indian peacekeepers having served under the U.N. flag. (6) To date, 109 Indian peacekeepers have been killed in the line of duty. At the peak of U.N. commitments in 1994, India had 6,000 peacekeepers deployed worldwide and currently ranks as the number three troop contributor.

To provide a level of training equal to this level of commitment, India established the Center for U.N. Peacekeeping (CUNPK) in New Delhi in September 2000. This well respected training institution fulfills the training and concept-related requirements of India's U.N. peacekeeping obligations, while enabling future peacekeepers to benefit from India's vast peacekeeping experience.

Importance and Role of India vis a vis the United States

The U.S. has undertaken a transformation in its relations with India based on a conviction that

U.S. interests require a strong partnership with this South Asian nation. As the two largest democracies, India and the U.S. are both committed to political freedom protected by representative government. India and the U.S. also share a common interest in the free flow of commerce, especially through the sea-lanes of the Indian Ocean and have a joint interest in fighting terrorism and creating a stable Asia.

In the National Security Strategy of May 2002, President Bush highlighted India's potential to become one of the great democratic powers of the twenty-first century and noted that his administration has worked hard to transform the relationship accordingly. India is the world's largest democracy, with an expanding population of more than one billion and a rapidly growing middle class. India's burgeoning role both within South Asia, and on the world stage, makes it a nation of great interest for the U.S. India's rapid response to the recent tsunami disaster is but one illustration of its mounting stature. Although differences remain, today the U.S. views India from the perspective of a growing world power with which it has common strategic interests. (7) Relations between India and the U.S. have never been better and military cooperation has been at the forefront of this transformation over the past several years.

The relationship between the U.S. and Indian militaries is also strong and growing. The next steps in strategic partnership (NSSP) initiative launched by President Bush and former Prime Minister Vajpayee in January 2004 will include expanded engagement on civilian nuclear regulatory and safety issues, ways to enhance cooperation in civilian uses of space technology, steps to create an appropriate environment for successful high technology commerce, and dialogue on missile defense. The NSSP initiative has great strategic and commercial importance and is part of a complex set of issues both sides are working on.

Office of Defense Cooperation, New Delhi - Organization

All this interaction has had a spillover effect that has increased ODC's workload exponentially and led to substantial personnel expansion. In the summer of 2002, ODC New Delhi consisted of one Army Lieutenant Colonel, two foreign service nationals (FSNs) and a secretary. Over the past two years the office has expanded to include to two additional Army majors, Major Greg Winston, who handles Army and peacekeeping and counter-terrorism programs and Major Steve Hedden who handles Air Force matters and the Defense Cooperation in Armaments Program. U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander John Foy, who handles Navy and Coast Guard programs, and an additional FSN driver have also joined the team. In March Navy Captain Doug Harris came aboard to head up the ODC and an Air Force major will arrive in August. Two additional FSNs will be hired during the coming year to assist long serving military Programs Specialist Harsh Chugh. While this is indeed a big jump in staffing, the current office size pales in comparison with earlier organizations.

Defense Cooperation with India - Background

In early 1960s, the security assistance mission to India was headed by an Army Major General who managed a joint staff of more than 100 personnel. Many of the impressive embassy housing compound facilities in use today were built to support that large military contingent. This heavy presence was the result of India's urgent requests for military assistance following a war with China in 1962. India needed help quickly and the U.S. responded. However, this large force began a sharp downward spiral following the 1965 war between India and Pakistan, when aid to both nations was sharply curtailed. It was during this period that an inexorable shift to mostly Soviet and Russian equipment began, a process that did not end until the early 1990s, when India initiated an expansion of its defense supply sources to include more western equipment. In between was a long period of relatively little engagement between the U.S. and India, especially with regard to defense relations and security assistance. Sanctions following India's nuclear tests in May of 1998 were lifted in September 2001, leading to the current state of renewed partnership.

Office of Defense Cooperation Mission

The Office of Defense Cooperation New Delhi's mission is to:</p> <pre> Serve as the nodal agency for all security assistance programs to India in support of the vision, goals and programs of the Ambassador, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency and United States Pacific Command. </pre> <p>This mission statement reflects the fact that the ODC New Delhi, like similar organizations everywhere, serves multiple masters.

Current Programs

The ODC New Delhi has several tools at its disposal to accomplish this mission and help advance relations between the U.S. and India. They are listed below and will be discussed in some detail:

* Foreign Military Sales (FMS);

* International Military Education and Training (IMET);

* Grant Aid Programs;

** Enhanced International Peacekeeping Capabilities (EIPC);

** Counter Terrorism Fellowship Program (CTFP);

** Human Immuno Virus and Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS);

* Bilateral Forums;

** Security Cooperation Group (SCG);

** Senior Technology Security Group (STSG);

** Joint Technical Group (JTG); and

* Other Security Assistance (trade shows, personnel exchanges, and exercises).

Foreign Military Sales

Historically FMS sales to India have not been strong. While there has always been a degree of interest in U.S. military equipment, Indian arms purchases from the U.S. have in the past been limited for a variety of reasons. For most of India's independence the Soviet Union and then Russia met the bulk of India's defense equipment needs. This situation began to change in the past several years as India looked to expand its supply base, and today defense cooperation is a vibrant, visible and expanding aspect of the transformed U.S. and India relationship. Military sales to India have increased from zero in early 2001 to more than $214 million today, with that figure poised to rise even higher.

The fundamental shift in the U.S. and India defense supply relationship began after the U.S. lifted sanctions against India in September 2001. That step was closely followed by the first major FMS sale to India, a combined lease and purchase of AN/TPQ-37 Firefinder weapons locating radar systems. The first two leased systems were delivered to India in July 2003, just six months after the Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) was signed. Delivery of production radar systems began in 2005. Other major active FMS cases include a Special Forces equipment case, a Sea King helicopter spare parts support case and a submarine deep sea rescue vehicle case.

Today's atmosphere of India and U.S. collaboration has led to numerous requests for pricing and availability information for U.S. military equipment and there are several FMS cases in the pipeline. U.S. Navy teams have briefed the Indian Navy on the P-3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft and other systems.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) also offers great potential for engagement as well. Most recently it requested information on a multi role fighter aircraft, 126 of which will be procured to replace their aging MiG-21s. U.S. firms have recently been cleared to compete for this sale. The Indian Air Force has also expressed interest in acquiring a self protective suite (SPS) for its VIP aircraft.

There have been numerous other IAF requests for pricing data on various types of avionics and munitions as well, and there is currently an LOA with the Ministry of Defence for parachute equipment for the Indian Army. The Indians are also interested in a missile defense system and have recently been briefed on the Patriot system. Other requests for information or pricing data include avionics, radar systems, munitions and NBC equipment.

The pending obsolescence of much of India's Soviet-origin equipment will create major new opportunities for foreign suppliers, including the U.S. While eager to purchase what it believes is superior technology and higher quality military equipment, India also seeks licensed production and technology transfer to the maximum extent possible. The fact that the U.S. would like to expand high-technology trade with India has served as an additional impetus for enhanced interaction.

India's immense pool of talented professionals in all fields, combined with an advanced manufacturing capability, makes the production of nearly any military equipment possible. As a result, the defense deals concluded with India increasingly include a provision for technology transfer and licensed production. A typical acquisition program would include the first systems as outright purchases, with a gradual transition through assembly eventually resulting in indigenous production in many cases. Those competitors most willing to meet Indian desires in this regard will be at an advantage. The DCS are used along with FMS to meet India's growing requirements for U.S. defense equipment.

International Military Education and Training

IMET has historically been a very active program for the ODC. In fact, during the sanctions period this was the only security assistance activity taking place. The IMET continues to be very successful, with a $1.4 million budget (the highest ever) for fiscal year 2005 to send approximately forty-five Indian military students to the U.S. for training.

The IMET program is arguably the most valuable long-term program run by the U.S. government in India. Indian military officials continually express a desire for more technical and post-graduate training at the Naval Post-Graduate School and other advanced training institutions. In the coming years, ODC plans to increase the number of technical courses offered to India while also maintaining the popular professional military education (PME) and management courses.

IMET has played an undeniable role in our growing military engagement and the benefits gained by an Indian officer through exposure to U.S. military institutions and training and vice versa cannot be overstated. Indian officers selected for participation in the IMET program are the cream of the crop and typically emerge at the top of their classes in the U.S. The ODC has been notified of numerous Indian distinguished graduates through the years as part of the IMET program. In fact, many of the senior positions within the Indian military ranks today are filled by IMET graduates. For example, Admiral Arun Prakash, Chief of Indian Naval Staff and Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee is a U.S. Naval War College graduate.

Grant Aid Program

In addition to IMET, ODC administers several grant aid programs, all of which build goodwill and enhance interoperability with the Indian military to varying degrees. These are discussed in some detail below.

* Enhanced International Peacekeeping Capabilities Program:

Over the past two years ODC has implemented two LOAs to allocate $800K in Enhanced International Peacekeeping Capabilities (EIPC) grant aid received by India. EIPC is funding from the Department of State to help countries improve their capacity to train peacekeepers, and to enhance existing peacekeeping training centers. This program contributes to the ability of nations like India to participate in voluntary peacekeeping and humanitarian operations that reduce the burden on U.S. personnel and resources.

In India's case, $500K worth of EIPC funding has been used to purchase equipment (computers, radios, simulation software, video cameras, DVC facilities, etc.) to improve the capabilities of India's Peacekeeping Center. The first major equipment package was delivered in April 2005. India already has the premier peacekeeping training institution in South Asia and this equipment will make it even better.

The remaining $300K was used to open a blanket order training case to train Indian peacekeeping personnel in the U.S. and to support peacekeeping seminars. So far approximately $100K has been expended for this purpose.

* Counter Terrorism Fellowship Program:

In fiscal years 2004 and 2005 India received $200K under the Department of Defense (DoD) Counter Terrorism Fellowship Program. This money is being used to send Indian personnel, both military and civilian to the U.S. for counter terrorism related training as well as to bring mobile training teams (MTTs) to India.

The CTFP is a DoD program created under the fiscal year 2002 Defense Appropriations Act to provide counter terrorism training to international officers from selected countries. The training is provided at DoD schools and select regional centers. In fiscal year 2004, CTFP money was used to send ten Indian officers to the U.S. for training and to bring two mobile training teams to India. In August 2004, some U.S. Coast Guard personnel conducted an MTT for twenty Indian Coast Guard officers in the port city of Chennai on the subject of maritime crisis management and in September 2004, the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies conducted a Legal Aspects of Counter Terrorism seminar in New Delhi. A third Coast Guard MTT on Waterside Port Security was held in Mumbai in April 2005 and a Cyber-Terror MTT will take place in New Delhi in September 2005. These are in addition to individual counter terrorism training missions that have already been planned. PACOM will also use CTFP funds to organize an India and U.S. counter terrorism seminar to be held in India later this year.

* HIV/AIDS Program:

This year ODC took over administration of a $600K military HIV/AIDS prevention program which is being used to purchase testing equipment and provide HIV/AIDS training to the Indian military.

An additional $300K has been requested for next year. This money will be used by the Indian Armed Forces Medical Service (AFMS) to:

** Enhance its current HIV/AIDS prevention capabilities;

** Sustain HIV/AIDS awareness and education campaigns;

** Institute a blood screening program;

** Provide force wide counseling and testing;

** Improve HIV surveillance;

** Operate and maintain critical HIV/AIDS laboratory facilities; and

** Build a cadre of officers that can address and further HIV/AIDS policy and programs, including civil-military cooperation.

Under the HIV/AIDS program, the Indian AFMS co-hosted a conference with USPACOM in August 2004, which demonstrated that the Indian military is a willing partner in the fight against HIV and AIDS. A well attended peer-to-peer HIV/AIDS workshop was also held in New Delhi in April of this year. In the future PACOM will seek to leverage AFMS's growing level of HIV/AIDS expertise and experience.

Bilateral Forum

The ODC is responsible for several bilateral groups that meet on an annual or bi-annual basis. The SCG is the primary forum to address defense cooperation related matters with the Government of India. This bi-annual group is co-chaired by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency and the Joint Secretary and Acquisition Manager (Land Systems) in the Ministry of Defence. The Senior Technology Security Group meets annually to discuss matters related to high technology in an effort to address potential technology security issues as they develop. The Joint Technical Group focuses on scientific exchanges and defense cooperation in armaments issues and is co-chaired by representatives from India's Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO). The Senior Technology Security Group meets bi-annually to address technology release and export control issues.

Other Security Cooperation

Defense Cooperation in Armaments Program

In an effort to demonstrate U.S. commitment to the defense supply relationship, ODC launched a Defense Cooperation in Armaments program with India's DRDO in July 2002. DRDO is responsible for the development of indigenous military equipment and upgrades of existing equipment for the Indian military. In February 2004, DRDO signed a Master Information Exchange Agreement (MIEA) with the U.S allowing for the exchange of information between DRDO and DoD labs and scientists. Both sides expect to sign the first two Information Exchange Annexes (IEAs) on the subject of enhancement of human performance on the battlefield shortly. Other areas of potential information exchange currently being pursued are related to the fields of materials and modeling and simulations. India and the U.S. are also nearing completion of a Research Development Testing and Evaluation (RDT&E) Agreement. Under this enabling agreement, both sides will seek to capitalize on the success of the data shared under the IEAs and enter into future project agreements, sharing cost, risk, and benefits in the process.

Aero India 2005

Aero India is the largest aerospace trade show in South Asia. After the recent pronouncements by senior GOI leaders regarding their desire to expand the defense supply relationship, the ODC made a major effort to garner high-level support for this event. Held at an Indian Air Force base in Bangalore, Aero India 2005 was a major success, with more than 140 U.S. personnel participating, including several flag rank officers. On display and generating extensive positive media attention were a P-3C Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft, a C-130J, two F-15E Strike Eagles and a KC-135 Tanker. Also highly visible was a tri-service DoD technology exhibit and various U.S. defense contractors.

Foreign Area Officer In-Country Training Support

ODC also coordinates and provides all administrative support for the Army officer who attends India's Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) at Wellington every year. This remote school is the equivalent of the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College (CGSC), but is a joint service institution. Attendance is a key part of the U.S. Army's South Asian Foreign Area Officer In-Country Training (ICT) program in India. During and after the ten-month-long course, the FAO trainee travels throughout India and the rest of South Asia in an effort to broaden his or her experience base and enhance usefulness as a future South Asian FAO. Two members of the ODC team and two embassy defense attaches are DSSC graduates.

India Defence Services Staff College and U.S. Army's Command and General Staff Instructor Exchange

India and the U.S. are in the final stages of implementing a permanent instructor exchange between these two institutions, with only the final administrative details remaining to be worked out.

Military Exercises

Interaction in a variety of joint exercises over the past three years has further increased Indian interest in U.S. equipment. During the past year alone there have been twelve major exercises involving all services and more are planned for the coming year. These exercises have exposed Indian military personnel to some of the sophisticated military hardware available from the U.S.

During exercises in Leh in 2003, Indian and American Special Forces paratroopers jumped together to learn about each other's formation flying techniques and to coordinate dropping ground support cargo. These Special Forces operations are important measures of our cooperation because they showcase the cutting edge of interoperability, especially as both armies gear up to tackle terrorists and guerrilla and clandestine warfare. Over the past few years, joint exercises in this area have included heliborne operations, counter-terrorism training, mountain warfare, close-quarter combat and jungle warfare.

Regarding Naval interaction, the Indian Navy ships Sharda and Sukanya relieved the USS Cowpens to escort ships through the Straits of Malacca and to protect them against terrorist attacks and pirates on the high seas during Operation Enduring Freedom in April of 2002. This was followed by several joint search and rescue exercises as well as the "Malabar" series of exercises in the Arabian Sea, which involved ships and helicopters of both countries rehearsing the interception of suspicious vessels, using anti-submarine warfare, and completing complicated flying operations.

In February of 2004, fighter aircraft from the U.S. and India participated in a dissimilar air combat training exercise together for the first time since 1963. The Indian Air Force fielded Jaguars, MiG-21 Bison, Mirage 2000s and SU-30 K aircraft, and the U.S. fielded F-15Es. In another first, India conducted the largest strategic deployment of its combat aircraft outside its territory in the summer of 2004, when it participated in the multinational Cope Thunder 2004 exercise in Alaska. Similar exercises are planned for later this year.

The Indian Army and the U.S. Army Pacific Command (USARPAC) have also co-hosted several peacekeeping exercises over the past several years. In February 2003, Exercise Shanti Path was held in New Delhi for 140 participants from fourteen countries. In July 2004, India co-hosted the Multinational Planning Augmentation Team (MPAT) Tempest Express Seven Exercises with 120 participants representing twelve countries. Some of these connections later proved invaluable in helping coordinate tsunami relief efforts. USARPAC will conduct the next peacekeeping command post exercise (CPX) with the Indian Army in Hawaii in July 2005.

Challenges of Defense Cooperation with India

While the momentum of the current relationship is undeniably positive, challenges remain. Foremost is a waning perception within the MoD that the U.S. may not be a politically reliable defense supplier based on Indian experience with U.S. sanctions over the years. The sanctions that followed the nuclear tests in 1998 left a particularly negative impression on some within the Indian defense establishment because they cut off military supplies from not just the U.S., but also from third party sources that contained U.S. components.

Another challenge to greater defense cooperation with India is MoD's lack of familiarity with the FMS process. This is the result of decades of Indian interaction with other suppliers (primarily the former Soviet Union and now Russia) that used totally different supply procedures. To educate Indian defense personnel and policy makers with the FMS process, ODC has arranged and conducted two very successful week-long DISAM FMS seminars, in 2002 and 2004. Both have been well received and attended by very senior defense acquisition personnel.

Not only are the Indians still learning about our procedures, but in some ways the Indian defense procurement system is different than and does not always mesh perfectly with ours. One example of this is the typical requirement for potential defense suppliers to provide their equipment for a trial evaluation on a no-cost, no-commitment basis. This is something that FMS does not offer and creative solutions to potential impasse situations like this are needed. Compromise, where permitted under U.S. export control legislation, is sometimes an option, with hybrid FMS and direct commercial sales (DCS) another angle.

Finally, FMS must compete for Indian business while abiding by U.S. export control and technology release regulations that do not constrain our competitors. This can slow our processing of Indian requests and has the potential to give India the false impression that the U.S. is not eager to do business.

The current challenge for ODC is to prevent these procedural disconnects from stunting our fledgling defense sales relationship. Because India has so little experience with FMS, the cases being considered right now have genuine potential to profoundly affect India's perception of our system, for better or worse. One recommendation that has been made by numerous defense professionals is that MoD establish a full time office at their embassy in Washington to focus on FMS and DCS cases, along the lines of those countries with larger and more established FMS relationships. We are hopeful that the Indians will act on this suggestion soon.


As Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said during his visit to India in December 2004:</p> <pre> the India and the U.S. military relationship is a strong one and ... something that we intend to see further knitted together as we go forward in the months and years ahead. </pre> <p>The future for India and the U.S. relations is bright and the Office of Defense Cooperation New Delhi is proud to be helping lay the foundation for what will undoubtedly evolve into an even stronger defense partnership. This is an exciting time to be working in defense cooperation with India.

(1) Central Intelligence Agency. World Fact Book,

(2) Indian Ministry of Defence website,

(3) Indian Ministry of Defence website,

(4) Indian Defense Yearbook 2004, Natraj Publishers, January 2004, pp. 276-278.

(5) Indian Ministry of Defence website, http://mod.nic, in/aforces/welcome.html.

(6) Indian Center for United Nations Peacekeeping website,

(7) U.S. National Security Strategy,

Major Greg Winston is the Army Programs Officer in the Office of Defense Cooperation in New Delhi, India. He is an Armor Officer and Foreign Area Officer specializing in South Asia who is two years into his second tour in India, having previously attended DSSC.

Major Greg Winston, USA Office of Defense Cooperation, New Delhi, India
Service Personnel Major Equipment

Army 1,100,000 3,988 Main Battle Tanks,
 4,175 Pieces of Towed Artillery

Navy 53,000 75 Ships,
 1 Aircraft Carrier,
 19 Submarines

Air Force 145,000 701 Combat Aircraft,
 60 Attack Helicopters,
 220 Transporters (4)

Service Units

Army 36 Divisions,
 18 Independent Brigades

Navy 3 Regional Commands

Air Force 35 Combat Squadrons
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Author:Winston, Greg
Publication:DISAM Journal
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jun 22, 2005
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