Category Archives: India-US Relations Blog

Preparations underway for Indian defense minister Parrikar’s visit to the US

US-India Bilateral Strategic Relations to Reach High Point

Manohar ParrikarHigh level meetings are in full swing in preparation for Indian defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s visit, to the US, this week. The visit will carry forward the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) as both countries work towards greater collaboration in joint development and manufacture of next-generation military technology.

Keeping the visit in mind, senior defence officials discussed common regional security interests, new ways to engage militarily and strengthen military to military ties at the 14th US-India Defence Policy Group (DPG) held at the Pentagon on Nov 18th. The meeting was co-chaired by US Under-Secretary of Defence for Policy Christine Wormuth and Indian Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar. The meeting was the first after the Defence Framework Pact was signed during US Defence Secretary Carter’s visit to India in June.

Kumar and Wormuth highlighted new opportunities for collaboration in areas of defence strategy, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR), and maritime security cooperation.

“Both emphasized their commitment to onward progress in defence cooperation in order to build on the positive momentum brought about through recent senior-level engagements,” a senior Pentagon official said.

In a clear signal of India’s importance, both as a major buyer and potential collaborator in the defence sector, Pentagon has established a first of its kind country special cell called India Rapid Reaction Cell (IRRC), to speed up defence ties between India and the United States. IRRC is headed by Keith Webster, Director, International Cooperation Office of the Under Secretary of Defence for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

The DPG meeting took place in the backdrop of escalating tensions over territorial claims in the South China Sea, as China develops artificial islands in areas claimed by several other South East Asian nations.

Washington believes there is strategic convergence between New Delhi’s ‘Act East’ policy and its ongoing “re-balance” of military forces to the Asia Pacific. Parrikar’s visit will focus on strategies to bolster maritime security, counter-terrorism and intelligence-sharing between the two countries. India so far has played neutral in the ongoing power play in the South China Sea, only insisting the need for free navigation in in international waters, right of passage and over-flight, and unimpeded commerce and access to resources.

During his US visit, Parrikar and his American counterpart Ashton Carter, will review the joint working group on aircraft carrier under DTTI as well as identify technologies that could be acquired by India on government-to-government basis and discuss possible programs under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

There is also the issue of several contentious bilateral military agreements, held up by the previous UPA government that the US is keen for India to sign, these are the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) and the Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum Agreement (CISMOA).

Since the new NDA government signed a 10-year India-US defence framework agreement and joint vision statement for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region earlier this year, Washington has renewed its thrust on these two pending pacts. The LSA foresees the two militaries providing support in logistics, refueling and berthing facilities for each other’s warships and aircrafts on a barter or an equal-value exchange basis. CISMOA, on the other hand, is designed to be a “technology enabler” that will facilitate smooth transfer of high-tech avionics and electronics to India from the US. Another important agenda during Parrikar’s visit will be to identify more military technologies for co-development and production under the bilateral DTTI.

Within the last 4 years, USA has already surpassed Russia, Israel and France to be India’s top arms supplier, capturing 40% of the Indian defence market. Since 2007, contracts worth $13 billion have been inked. US is hopeful that Parrikar’s visit will show progress in inking $3.4 billion worth of deals that are in the pipeline, including the purchase of 4 more P-81 maritime patrol aircraft, in addition to the 8 already inducted into the Indian Navy, 3 more C-17 Globemaster-III, strategic airlift aircraft, in addition to the 10 C-17s already inducted into the Indian Airforce and purchase of 145 pieces of M777 Ultra-Light Howitzers for the Indian army.

The M 777 howitzer deal worth $700 million with BAE, will not only equip the Indian Army with tremendous firepower, but under the deal BAE will shift its assembly integration and testing AIT facility to India.

This howitzer deal would give a major boost to Modi’s Make in India as this could potentially make India the global hub for the M777 howitzers, with BAE planning to export guns to buyers in Europe, Africa and South America.

Under the DTTI, several albeit modest “pathfinder” projects have been finalized for co-development, ranging from mobile generators and NBC protection gear for soldiers while 2 mini spy drones and roll-on roll-off modules for C-130 J super Hercules aircraft are still pending. Parrikar, during his visit to the US, will be looking to identify further military joint development of jet engines and aircraft carrier design and construction technologies.

Currently, US and India is conducting at least 50 joint military exercises each year, which include counter-terror ‘Vajra Prahar’ exercises for the army, multi-lateral naval engagements in the Asia-Pacific region and a high voltage ‘Red Flag’ joint exercise with Indian air force scheduled for Alaska in 2016.

As a testament to India’s growing importance as a strategic defence partner, Parrikar, in a first for an Indian defence minister, will visit the headquarters of the US Pacific Command (PACOM), based in Hawaii. PACOM is the biggest operational command of the US, overseeing almost 60 per cent of the US Navy, including six sea-borne aircraft carriers. According to US demarcations, PACOM oversees 52 per cent of the planet and is the Command in touch with 36 countries — including China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and Vietnam. Parrikar will be briefed on PACOM’s operational issues and also its significance in tackling the onslaught of the Japanese imperial forces during World War II (1939-1945).

Parrikar is also expected to broach on India’s displeasure at the US handing over advanced weaponry and technology to Pakistan, including the sale of advanced F-16 raptors and 15 Bell AH 1Z Viper attack helicopters to Pakistan. Pakistan foreign secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary recently said his country had developed tactical nuclear weapons to counter any Indian aggression, expanding its nuclear arsenal from 110 to 130 warheads.

In other developments, a US delegation met with the Indian defence ministry to seek clarifications on the ‘Make in India’ initiative. The delegation stressed upon an immediate implementation of the recommendations of the Dhirendra Singh Committee, which has submitted its suggestions on the defence procurement policy (DPP) to the ministry. Issues that were pressed included flexibility towards defining offset obligations, transfer of technology and consideration of engineering software as eligible service in offsets. Speaking earlier on Saturday, Parrikar said his effort are focused on bringing out a “perfect” DPP which will ensure that a deal is closed within three years as against the present day average of five years.

Defence ministry sources confirmed the meeting and added that the points will be conveyed to Parrikar ahead of his US visit and will be incorporated in the discussions.

Panel Discussion To Evaluate Scope of Smart City Opportunities and Challenges in the State of Maharashtra, India

USINPAC Organizes Panel Discussion with Ms. Poonam Mahajan, MP from Mumbai, India 


Poonam Mahajan

Poonam Mahajan is a member of parliament from Mumbai’s North Central constituency and politician from Bharatiya Janta Party. Poonam held the post of General Secretary of the Maharashtra State Unit of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha in April 2007 after which she was appointed as the National Vice President of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha in August 2010. Poonam then went on to become one of the youngest National Secretaries of the BJP in 2013.

She credits her commitment to working with NGOs to her father who shared the same sense of empathy towards those less fortunate. Poonam has been actively involved in social work through NGOs like Pramod Mahajan Pratishthan and Tapasvi Public Charitable Trust. Another cause extremely close to her heart is the People for Animals Foundation where she is a trustee. Ms. Poonam is currently in the process of raising funds and support for People For Animals in Mumbai, for which land has already been granted by the Government of Maharashtra. The hospital will be the first of its kind in India and built along the lines of the ASPCA in New York.

Sanjay Puri

Sanjay Puri is a recognized authority on US-India relations. He serves as the Chairman of the US-India Political Action Committee (USINPAC), a national, bipartisan political action committee representing over 3.2 million Indian-Americans. USINPAC works closely with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, as well as with the administration, to ensure that the community’s concerns are addressed. USINPAC, through Mr. Puri’s leadership, played a key role in the passage of the US India Civil Nuclear Agreement which involved galvanizing the Indian American community to work with the US Congress.

Mr. Puri is also the founder, President and CEO of the Alliance for US India Business (AUSIB). AUSIB is dedicated to strengthening economic ties between the US and India.

Mr. Puri was the Founder of Optimos Inc. a very successful strategy and enterprise information technology company that was sold in 2014. Mr. Puri is a frequent public speaker and expert witness on US-India relations and the political impact of the Indian-American community. He has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Times, on National Public Radio (NPR), the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), CNN and Nightline.

Vik Chauhan

Vikram (Vik) Chauhan is a Technology Executive with over 30 years’ experience through leadership roles in several companies (including Deloitte, CSC, and Northrop Grumman)

Vik is a founding member of USINPAC and Chairman of DEFTIAC an advisory NGO for defense and security technology collaboration between US and India.

In addition to the US Public sector, Vik has advised a number of foreign governments – including those of India, the U.K., Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Philippines and others – on building Smart Cities, e-Governance and Public Security.

He is an acclaimed evangelist of Smart Cities, and has authored numerous articles detailing the building of Smart Cities and Command Centers, along with co-writing a book entitled Future Cities: Designing and Building A Smart City.

He has developed Smart City solutions and partnerships with IBM, SAP, Siemens, Microsoft, Motorola, and Cisco. Vik is Member Executive Technical Council, Chairman Healthcare of Network Centric Operations Industry Consortium (, a Global organization focused on industry neutral concepts with 55+ members and affiliates representing 12 countries and a Co-Founding member of Cyber Risk Marketplace (CRM), a pioneer in the Cyber insurance and breach protection.

Pedro B. Ortiz

Pedro B. Ortiz is currently a Visiting Professor at Milano Politecnico University (Italy) as well as Senior Urban Consultant for international governments and multilaterals, as the Inter-American Development Bank or the World Bank (Washington DC).

He has accumulated metropolitan management experience in the five continents. Previously, he was the founder and Director of the Masters Program of Town Planning of the University King Juan Carlos of Madrid, after being Director General for Regional Planning of Madrid Region and Deputy Major for Madrid in charge of Strategic Planning for the Capital of Spain. He made the Strategic Plan of Madrid in 1994 and the Metropolitan Plan in 1996. You can find out more about Pedro and his work here.

His work addresses metropolitan rapid growth all over the world, as does his new book ‘The Art of Shaping the Metropolis’. Pedro’s work expands on a methodology for smart metropolitan planning developed during his time as director of the Metropolitan Plan for Madrid with two models to restructure mega metropolises: the Metro–Matrix archetype at the metropolitan scale, and Balanced Urban Development unit for the city scale. Pedro’s vision is for a new city form that moves from the dominant monocentric model to polycentric cities, based on mass public transport, with a reticular grid pattern. If developed and designed well, it is argued that each center will have its own character, enhanced by designers of public space to create centers with a sense of place blending culture, heritage and modernity.

Dr.Indu Singh

Dr. Singh is VP and Head of Washington DC operations for Los Alamos Technical Associates (LATA) where he directs federal, international and cybersecurity business. Dr. Singh is world’s leading expert on Smart and Safe City and was responsible for the first Smart City conceptualization for Singapore (intelligent island) in the pre-Internet days. He has published numerous books and his articles have been featured in numerous journals on Smart Cities, his latest book in 2013 is a widely read book entitled The Safe City: Living Free in a Dangerous World

Dr. Singh has executed Smart City engineering, security and IT business in 49 countries and has traveled to 81 countries He is a hands-on executive with strategic thinking and business operations experience.

He has extensive business and technology management experience with proven P&L track record. He founded three mid-size high tech companies and served as President and CEO. His business and consulting experience includes management, security solution engineering, domestic and international business development, mergers and acquisition, turn-around, investment capital.

J. Jeffrey Craven

Jeff Craven is a member of the Thompson Coburn LLP Corporate and Securities practice group and co-chairs the firm’s Media and Internet group.  He advises clients on domestic and international mergers and acquisitions as well as Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licensing and regulatory matters. Jeff focuses principally in the telecom, satellite, technology and energy sectors, regularly providing advice and counsel on the formation and financing of domestic and international transactions, as well as strategic alliances.

He advises private equity groups, government contractors, foreign governments, bond holders and underwriters in regulatory, transactional and business due diligence associated with domestic and international transactions, including public-private partnerships (“PPPs”) and enhanced-use leases (“EULs”).

Jeff also counsels entrepreneurs and start-up businesses on formation, financing, structuring options and partnering strategies.

Scott McIntyre

Scott is the managing partner and PWC’s U.S. public sector leader; he was recently honored among consulting magazine’s list of the Top 25 Consultants for 2015.

Scott oversees professionals who help federal, state and local governments improve performance and output. Under his leadership, PwC’s public sector practice was recognized with the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for performance excellence through innovation, improvement and visionary leadership. This was the first time a large consulting firm has been recognized with this honor.Scott graduated from The John Hopkins University with an MS in Information Systems and received an MBA from the Willamette University Atkinson Graduate School of Management.  Dedicated to giving back, he is Chairman of the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

Over 150 American academicians support PM Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ initiative

over-150-american-academicians-support-pm-narendra-modis-digital-india-initiativeWASHINGTON: A group of American academicians today backed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ campaign asserting that it heralds a new era of participatory democracy and enhances transparency, weeks after prominent US-based academics raised privacy concerns over the project.

“We welcome, Prime Minister Modi’s support for the Digital India initiative that heralds a new age of participatory democracy and enhances transparency in governance in India, leveling the playing field for vast numbers of India’s citizens,” more than 150 American academicians said in a statement.

Signatories include holders of prestigious endowed professorships, deans of schools and educators in engineering, medicine, business and the humanities from many of the most prestigious institutions in the US.

“We, the undersigned, as faculty representing diverse disciplines in the American academy, join fellow Americans in welcoming India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to California’s Silicon Valley on his inaugural visit there September 26-27, 2015,” the letter said.

“We note that Prime Minister Modi’s visit comes at a transformational moment in a relationship between the two largest democracies in the world representing 1.5 billion people–one-fifth of humanity,” it said.

In the statement, the academicians recognised the indigenous talents of Indian scientists to develop the infrastructure to effectuate ‘Digital India’ and other initiatives predicated on technological advancements.

At the same time, the academicians hoped that Modi will seek partnership with American academic and business leaders with the expertise and experience to ensure that Digital India realizes its potential without imperiling India’s privacy laws and individual liberties.

“We are encouraged by reports that 170 million new bank accounts have opened, accompanied by government-backed catastrophic insurance, bringing hope to the most needy in India. Tying these accounts into the Aadhar identity document program could give many citizens their first clear symbol of empowerment,” the statement said.

The letter comes weeks after over 100 prominent US-based academics, most of them Indian-Americans, said that they were concerned that the Digital India’s potential for increased transparency in bureaucratic dealings with people is “threatened by its lack of safeguards about privacy of information, and thus its potential for abuse”.

“We acknowledge that under Prime Minister Modi, India’s civilisational contributions of yoga, spirituality, religious pluralism, art, and music are enjoying renewed patronage and public acceptance globally,” the signatories added.

Praising the ‘Clean India’ campaign, they said that as educators, they recognise that India is home to the largest youth population in the world, and success in improving basic facilities at over 400,000 government schools this past year, inspires confidence in Modi’s commitment to education.

“We believe that partnerships in Silicon Valley and knowledge exchange with the American academy have the potential to offer solutions in educational entrepreneurship necessary to reach and inspire those 356 million young Indians and prepare them for the 21st century,” they said.

Joining several prominent professors of engineering schools, having membership in prestigious societies such as the National Academy of Engineering, Executive Director of the American Society of Engineering Education Dr Norman Fortenberry provided a welcome letter on behalf of the society of over 12,000 engineers and 400 engineering institutions.

“We express our hope that your visit will further provide opportunities to enhance partnerships between ASEE member institutions in the US and Indian engineering and technological institutions, which will result in the engineering and technological skills development of the youth of India,” Fortenberry wrote.

US delegation to soon meet UP officials on smart city: Verma

USINPAC-Richard VermaUS Ambassador to India Richard Rahul Verma today metChief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and said an American delegation would soon meet the state officials for a detailed discussion on developing Allahabad as a smart city.

Verma also met Governor Ram Naik during his visit and expressed his happiness that Prime Minister NarendraModi’s US visit and President Barack Obama visit to India has contributed to a “fresh start” in the relationship between the countries.

The US Ambassador said that America wants to increase economic and trade relationship with India and would also assist India in the education sector.

He said that the US was working on developing smart cities in UP and an American delegation would soon meet the state officials for a detailed discussion.

During his meeting with Akhilesh, Verma expressed his willingness to strengthen and increase bilateral ties with India, specially with UP.

The ambassador said a number of US entrepreneurs were interested in investing in the UP and enquired about sectors suitable for investment.

Akhilesh said that there were immense possibilities of investment in the state, adding, the government has implemented pro-investment policies under which a number of facilities were being provided to the entrepreneurs.

The chief minister said that US investors could participate in sectors like agriculture, agro-processing, waste management and infrastructure development.

He assured the US ambassador that the UP government would extend all support and help.

Naik said people from India want to make good relationship with the US.

The Governor said that the state has immense opportunities to attract tourists and the government was implementing new schemes to promote this sector.

Naik also presented Verma with a picture of historical Roomi Darwaza and a book ‘Birds of Raj Bhawan’.

On his first visit to Lucknow after taking over as the ambassador this January, Verma would visit Isabella Thoburn College tomorrow.

After meeting with the students and faculty, he would also visit the American Corner on the campus.

He is scheduled to meet several top leaders in the fields of education, politics and culture during his visit to the city.

Source: Business Standard

Indian diaspora in US organising grand reception for PM Narendra Modi

Modi In USThe Indian community in the US is planning to host a mega reception for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will travel to San Francisco after addressing a United Nations summit on sustainable development on September 25. About 500 Indian-American organisations have joined hands to host a grand reception for Modi in San Jose, Silicon Valley, on September 27, Rakhi Israni, spokesperson of Indo-American Community of West Coast (IACW) said in a statement.

“Prime Minister Modi has done a superb job in his first year in office, and it is evident by the public’s response to the upcoming event how excited the Indian diaspora is about the future of India,” the statement said. Online process for registration of reception’s organisers has been completed, it said. The United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda will be held from September 25 to 27 and will be convened as a high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly. Modi is expected to address the gathering on September 25 and then travel to San Francisco, becoming the fourth Indian premier to visit the US’ West Coast.

His visit to San Francisco would also revive — after a gap of four decades with the exception of the former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao in 1994 — the post-independence tradition of Indian prime ministers visiting the US cities other than New York or Washington DC.

The thriving Indian diaspora in the US, in particular those on the West Coast and the Silicon Valley has welcomed Modi’s decision to visit San Francisco. Massive preparations are on to accord a grand welcome to him at the SAP Center, one of the largest indoor stadium in the Silicon Valley, known as the tech hub of the world. The event is expected to be attended by an around 18,000-strong audience.

“The reception is timed around the scheduling of many high impact meetings and programs, all of which stand to promote the shared ideals of innovation and entrepreneurship that define both Vibrant India under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi and Silicon Valley,” the IACW statement said.

The visit shall also highlight the contributions of India and Indian-Americans to the technology and clean energy sectors, it said. The PM is likely to visit the offices of Internet giant Google. In California, he will make a speech at the famous Stanford University. Modi had given his maiden address to the UN General Assembly last year and had then travelled to Washington to meet US President Barack Obama.


Source:  The Indian Express